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Economists shrug off downbeat November retail sales due to late Thanksgiving

People shopping
Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Wall Street shrugged in response to below-forecast consumer spending.

What's happening: Rather than interpret the data as a sign that the all-important consumer is losing steam, some are blaming November's figures on a calendar quirk — and keeping faith shoppers will continue to open up their wallets.

U.S. holiday retail sales slump

In this image, a pink shopping bag sits on top of a trash can while holiday shoppers walk down the street
Black Friday shoppers walk New York City's 5th Avenue. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Shoppers spent less at restaurants and bars in November and didn't buy as many clothes and sporting goods as they had the month prior, according to the latest advance estimates from the Commerce Department.

The big picture: Strong consumer spending largely acted as the U.S. economy's backbone for the past two quarters and much of 2018. The Federal Reserve ended its interest rate-cutting streak on Wednesday, signaling confidence that the economy doesn't need easier borrowing conditions to stay afloat.