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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Mastercard report: holiday sales grew 5.1 percent

The retail sector appears poised to report its best year-end holiday sales season in years. According to the Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending trends across payment types (cash, cards and checks), retail sales this holiday season rose by 5.1 percent over 2017 to total more than $850 billion, the largest increase in six years. Online shopping sales registered the biggest gains, rising 19.1 percent over 2017 online holiday sales, Mastercard reported.

“From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor to MasterCard. Sadove formerly was chairman and CEO of the high-end retailer Saks Inc.

The Mastercard SpendingPulse report details holiday shopping from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, 2018, across retailing verticals. Here’s a rundown of key trends:

  • Sales at home improvement stores surged 9.0 percent. “This trend started before the holiday season and helped the sector power through to a strong finish,” Mastercard wrote.
  • Apparel sales also registered strong growth, rising 7.9 percent over 2017.
  • Home furniture and furnishings stores registered 2.3 percent growth
  • Sales at electronics and appliance stores were down 0.7 percent.
  • Department store sales finished the season down 1.3 percent compared to 2017, following two years of growth below 2 percent. Online sales growth for department stores was a different story, however, registering 10.2 percent increase over 2017 sales.

Mastercard suggested sales increases could have been even larger this holiday season, but for inclement weather conditions that may have kept shoppers at home – extreme cold on the East Coast on Black Friday and wet weather conditions on both the East and West coasts the weekend of Dec. 15 and 16, for example. “Conditions were also less than ideal on Fri., Dec. 21, in the East, with storms that impacted the final run of the season,” Mastercard added. end of article

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