MasterCard: Holiday Retail Sales Up 7.9 Percent

MasterCard: Holiday Retail Sales Up 7.9 Percent

Strong online sales and demand for furniture and women’s apparel helped U.S. retail sales grow 7.9 percent this holiday season, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. E-commerce sales rose 20 percent year over year.

Electronics and men’s apparel were laggards, but MasterCard said that sales of women’s apparel rose by double-digits in the holiday shopping period as colder weather finally reached some U.S. markets.

For all of November and December, sales were up 4.6 percent, slightly better than expected.

“After a slow start, I’m very happy to see that the holiday season was hot for retailers. We saw some very promising trends,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights at MasterCard Advisors, in the report. “The double-digit growth in furniture sales, for instance, shows that consumers are willing and able to splurge on big ticket items. E-commerce’s rise is a solid indication of an empowered and savvy shopper. We’ll be watching to see if this behavior continues into 2016.”

MasterCard’s figures come from credit card transactions as well as consumer surveys on spending with cash and checks.

U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles and gas, had grown 5.5 percent in the period between Black Friday and Christmas Eve last year.