NEW YORK—The nation's largest retail trade group says holiday sales increased 4.1%, near the top end of its forecast.
The National Retail Federation had expected a range of 3.8% to 4.2% for the November and December period.
The results offer a dose of optimism for the retail industry after several large stores delivered disappointing holiday sales.
The numbers exclude sales from automobile dealers, gas stations and restaurants.
Online and other non-store sales were up 14.6% over the prior year and are included in the total.