MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The holidays truly were the season of giving in 2016 — retail sales topped $650 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Sales during November and December hit $658.3 billion, a 4 percent increase over 2015.

Non-store sales accounted for $122.9 billion, up 12.6 percent from the previous year.

The NRF forecast $655.8 billion in sales and expected online sales to increase 7 to 10 percent to as much as $117 billion.

The NRF’s chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, cited an increase in average hourly earnings, low unemployment and the rising stock market as potential factors in the increase in spending.

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