Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Mastercard report: Holiday retail sales up 4.9%

US-BLACK-FRIDAY-SHOPPING-RETAIL-COMMERCE Retail Sales Stayed Strong During the Holiday Season
Elsie Buchanan | 28 December, 2017, 01:49

Sales of electronics and appliances increased by 7.5 percent, the largest increase in a decade according to Mastercard.

The SpendingPulse report details holiday shopping from November 1 through December 24 and covers retail sales across all payment types, including cash and check.

For retailers, it's been a charmed holiday season. The exciting retail growth across several categories should help many retailers post better numbers to close out the year, though they'd be smart to invest in their e-commerce capabilities in order to build on the success of the holiday season by capitalizing on increasing online shopping.

Moderate gains at specialty apparel and department stores, which Mastercard described as "particularly impressive given recent store closings".

"I think people were a little too negative going into this holiday season", said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights at Mastercard.

"Overall, this year was a big win for retail", Ms. Quinlan said.

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Although Quinlan admitted that the strong USA economy was a contributing factor, an upgraded customer experience also helped.

Remember those Christmas promotions right after Halloween and into the first weeks of November? The Saturday before Christmas Eve was second only to Black Friday in single-day spending. This was a boon to certain categories, including jewelry.

The findings were based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, along with survey based-estimates for other forms of payment, including cash and checks, Mastercard said.

Shoppers across the US were spending large sums of money prior to the tax bill by the Republicans that promised tax cuts was passed, said reports that analyzed holiday spending habits. Jewelry grew 5.9 percent, largely driven by last-minute sales. In addition to the United States, SpendingPulse is available in select markets around the world.

Rising retail sales - especially for bigger-ticket durable goods - were a sign consumers were feeling good about the economy and would be more willing to open their wallets, Quinlan said.

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