Singapore retail sales up 1.1% in Nov on surge in vehicle sales

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Total retail sales for the calendar year 2016 were up 3.3 percent compared with 2015, and up 4.3 percent in December 2016, compared with the previous December.

The holidays truly were the season of giving in 2016 - retail sales topped $650 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food service, rose by 0.2 percent in December after coming in unchanged in November. Nonstore retailers were up 13.2% from December 2015, while Miscellaneous stores were up 7.1% from past year.

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The dollar rose as much as 0.6 percent against the yen to a session high of 115.44 after slipping to a five-week low of 113.73 Thursday. Meanwhile, furniture and home stores experienced a 0.5% rise and sporting goods stores suffered a 0.2% increase. The organization forecast a 7% to 10% increase in online sales to $117.0 billion.

The monthly increase followed a revised down 2.9% increase in November from November a year ago, based on a preliminary estimate for the month.

However, it is important to point out that electronics and appliance stores suffered a 2.3% decrease in sales in comparison to 2015. Ex-auto sales had been expected to climb by 0.5 percent. Gas station sales rose 2 percent, largely because of higher prices.

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"There has been a lot of talk about online versus in-store retail in the past few months, but that comes from people who don't realize that online and retail today are the same thing", Shay said.

Americans also spent more on sports and hobbies but cut back on eating out. Regional department stores continue to struggle, she said. That compared with 15 percent a year ago.

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