Broad-based consumer spending in October jumped by 0.3 percent due to lower gas prices and an improving job market, and constituted more of an increase than economists initially expected.
The Commerce Department recently released news that retail and food services were up by 4.1 percent over last year's figures, and Bloomberg reported that the preliminary household sentiment index for November was at the highest level since July 2007.
"Paychecks are actually getting a little bigger, more people have jobs and, in inflation-adjusted terms, people have more in their wallets and they're willing to spend it," said economist Guy Berger.
Gas prices have reached the lowest level since Dec. 2010, according to AAA, but economists vary in opinion as to whether this change will be reflected in holiday sales figures. Some argue that lower gas prices encourage higher consumer retail spending, while others don't foresee a significant change.
October sales increased in clothing, furniture, health and personal care stores. Walmart reported its third quarter sales on Thursday, and estimated that lower gas prices caused a 0.5 percent increase in same-store sales, which represents the company's first quarterly sales gain since 2012.
Economists are optimistic about the holiday sales growth that retailers will see this year, particularly in December.
As the holidays approach, it's critical that you take a look at your company's card processing software and make sure you're using an up-to-date, cloud-based application that handles inventory.
Most retailers depend on November and December to generate about 19 percent of their yearly sales, and with such a dramatic influx of transactions it's important to have a system that's smooth and efficient for both your employees and your customers.