Alabama’s 2017 holiday sales were strongest on record for state

Strong consumer confidence and employment numbers helped propel Alabama’s 2017 holiday sales total to record levels. Alabamians spent more than $11.7 billion during the months of November and December 2017, making it the best holiday buying season the state has seen.

Taxed holiday sales in our state totaled $11,757,340,700.05, a jump of 2.84 percent over 2016 holiday sales. The final numbers, released in early February by the Alabama Department of Revenue, slightly exceeded Alabama Retail Association’s pre-season prediction of $11.6 billion.

The added sales tax revenues for the state came, in part, from the simplified sellers use tax.  Online-only sellers voluntarily remitted $7.7 million to the state in November and $9.15 million in December. Altogether, holiday sales reported by the simplified sellers exceeded $213 million, a 23.5 percent increase over 2016.

However, even without the additional revenues from the simplified sellers use tax, spending would have still been up 2.53 percent over 2016.

The Alabama Revenue Department reports sales tax collections on general merchandise, automobiles, machinery, restaurant and other food service sales as well as vending.

The state fell short of national holiday sales totals, which were up 5.5 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. Even so, NRF economists believe the willingness to spend and growing purchasing power seen during the holidays will be key drivers of the 2018 economy.

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The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.