US retail sales slumped in November, despite it being the holiday season, suggesting inflation concerns may be weighing on American shoppers, according to Census Bureau figures published Wednesday.
Retail sales ticked up just 0.3 percent over the month, seriously underperforming expectations of 0.8 percent, according to analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal.
Electronics and appliance stores — which typically perform well during Black Friday and the holiday shopping season — saw sales tank by 4.6 percent from October to November. Department stores also saw sales plummet 5.4 percent.
Meanwhile, bar and restaurant sales rose 1 percent and clothing and accessories sales were up 0.5 percent, according to the figures, which cover spending at stores and online.
“We are seeing some signs that inflation and supply chain woes may have held November sales back a bit,” said Ted Rossman, a retail industry analyst at CreditCards.com.
However, the analyst added that some of the month-over-month weakness can be attributed to better-than-expected sales in October, when some Americans shopped for holiday presents earlier than normal due to supply chain concerns.
“I see this more as a sign that Americans started their holiday shopping early, as opposed to bad news for retailers,” Rossman said.
Despite the low month-over-month growth, retail sales were up 18.2 percent compared to November 2020.
The Census Bureau on Wednesday also revised its growth figure for October up from 1.7 percent to 1.8 percent.