This blog post was originally published on Motley Fool CAPS.

Several major U.S. retailers recently reported November sales numbers that handily beat Wall Street's expectations. Strong discounts and online deals, coupled with holiday shipping specials, will spark consumer spending and stimulate the economy this holiday season. Holiday retail sales are just beginning, and they're already beating analysts' estimates across the board.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) and J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) turned in strong November sales numbers, up 11% and 2.28%, respectively. Reuters reported that discount retailer Target (NYSE: TGT), a stock that's been on this Fool's radar, reported gains in "stores open at least a year."

Elsewhere in retail, Aeropostale's (NYSE: ARO) November sales fell 1% according to the Journal, trimming its stock price by 14% on Dec. 2 alone. Perhaps Abercrombie's sales have grown at the expense of ARO, demonstrating a movement back toward upper-end fashion retailers, and away from companies such as Aeropostale.

On a more positive note, payroll data shows that the economy is gaining jobs, even as the jobless rate remains unchanged. Reuters reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 140,000, the fifth consecutive month of such gains. As companies hire more holiday workers, payroll data will only increase.

As the jobless rate remains idle, this almost 1 million job increase since December 2009 reveals stronger worker confidence in the American economy. Former "discouraged workers" are leaving hibernation and entering the job market. Increased optimism among consumers could translate to a Dow at 12,000 before the Street expects it.

As the holiday season progresses, and Christmas music starts to annoy us from every radio station, there are several retailers which I think could have a Foolishly successful holiday season. Let's take a look:





Target $59.65 15.69 $1.00/1.68%
RadioShack (NYSE: RSH) $19.01 10.71 $0.25/1.32%
Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) $43.56 12.15 $0.60/1.38%
Macy's (NYSE: M) $25.54 16.79 $0.20/0.78%

As of Dec. 3, 2010.

Target has fantastic deals on electronics, and a solid online store that's willing to ship to you for cheap! Its low prices and convenient delivery make it No. 1 on my list this holiday season.

I hope you haven't been naughty, because RadioShack's gadgets and toys are only for good Fools this year! After a strong Black Friday, RadioShack will use doorbuster deals to lure in consumers. The Shack's quality customer service and low prices should lure consumers to the cash register.

Best Buy could be a huge sleeper this holiday season. It doesn't report monthly sales numbers, so it's are not yet caught up in the hype of November sales increases. That said, no one knows exactly how well Best Buy did on Black Friday, or how well its amazing online deals are performing. The company's sales will most likely follow the trend of the rest of the retail industry, chalking up a robust December and a healthy quarter as a result.

Finally, Macy's boasted Black Friday sales that exceeded expectations, and also beat the Street's estimate for November sales by 1%, showing same-store sales rising year over year by a whopping 6%. And it's only December 3rd. According to CEO Terry Lundgren, Macy's will keep discounts rolling for the month of December, adding further fuel to its November successes.

Fool contributor Alexander Hillman blogs on CAPS as Alexinthebox55. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. Best Buy is a Motley Fool Inside Valuerecommendation. Best Buy is a Stock Advisor choice. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Best Buy. The Fool owns shares of Aeropostale and Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.