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Dec. CE/Majap Retail Sales Soared 7%: Feds

Washington — Retail sales for CE and appliance dealers rose 6.8 percent in December year-over-year, representing the third-strongest showing by channel behind only car dealers and restaurants, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

According to the agency’s latest monthly estimates, CE and majap sell-through hit $9 billion in December when adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading day differences, but not for price changes.

Fueled by aggressive majap promotions and strong demand for 4K TVs, the channel outperformed furniture stores, which were up 5.8 percent, and even online-only retailers, whose sales were up a more modest 5.1 percent last month.

December e-commerce sales were tempered by Christmas delivery cut-off dates, while all channels appeared to be impacted by brisk Thanksgiving-Black Friday discounting, which pulled demand forward into November.

Early holiday promotions also impacted CE/majap sales, which slipped 1.6 percent from November.

Total retail sales, excluding auto and restaurants, rose a scant 2.6 percent last month, although total unadjusted holiday sales, including November and December, were up 4 percent to $616.1 billion, and online sales jumped 6.8 percent to $101.9 billion.

“While December’s figures are disappointing, holiday sales in 2014 are the best we’ve seen since 2011,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), a trade group. “We remain positive about the future and expect to see consumers continue to benefit from the extra income gained from an improved job market and the dramatic fall in gas prices.”

Added NRF president/CEO Matthew Shay: “Today’s holiday retail sales results are welcome news for our industry and for our economy. There is every reason to believe that we have moved well beyond the days of consumer pessimism and that the trajectory for retailers continues to point up.”