Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Holiday Sales Jump 4.9%: Largest One-Year Improvement Since 2011

Retail Sales Stayed Strong During the Holiday Season US retailers got a present this Christmas: their highest holiday sales in years
Andy Castillo | 28 December, 2017, 01:48

The report attributed the overall sales boost to increased consumer confidence and a robust job market.

Most US retail stocks have tumbled this year as they continued to lose sales to online stores, mainly Amazon.com Inc.

Electronics and appliances increased 7.5 percent, the strongest growth of the last 10 years.

Shares of USA department stores jumped on Tuesday as Mastercard Inc said shoppers spent over $800 billion during the season, more than ever before, boosted by growing consumer confidence, rising employment and early discounts.

Sales, excluding automobiles, rose 4.9% from November 1 through Christmas Eve, compared with a 3.7% gain in the same period previous year, according to the Mastercard Inc.

"Overall, this year was a big win for retail", said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights at Mastercard.

Preliminary numbers show total holiday sales will exceed RetailNext's initial forecast of a 3.8% increase from past year.

For retailers, the shopping season isn't over.

An economist on Wall Street says that is appears consumers went to their banks and took out savings to fund the holiday spending this year, betting that tax cuts would refill the coffers in the early part of 2018.

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Home furnishings and home improvement saw a 5.1% increase in sales.

Remember those Christmas promotions right after Halloween and into the first weeks of November?

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

In addition, shoppers were still spending late into the season, with December 23 next to Black Friday in terms of single-day spending.

SpendingPulse reports on national USA retail sales across all payments types.

The data is based on an aggregate of all the sales activity in Mastercard's own payment network, combined with survey-based estimates for payment forms it doesn't track directly, such as cash and check.

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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