Thu Dec 27, 2018, 12:13 AM

U.S. Holiday Retail Sales Hit a Six-Year High But Will Consumer Confidence Last?

December 26, 2018

Retailers are reaping the rewards of a strong economy this season as U.S. shoppers propelled holiday sales growth to a six-year high.

Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, total U.S. retail sales excluding automobiles rose 5.1 percent from the year before, according to new data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks national retail sales across all payment types. In total, the payments company found that shoppers spent more than $850 billion, topping forecasts from the National Retail Federation, which estimated growth of between 4.3 and 4.8 percent. Growth in apparel was particularly strong at 7.9 percent, the best rate the sector has seen since 2010.

Online spending, predictably, picked up considerable steam this year, increasing 19 percent over the same period in 2017, according to Mastercard.

“From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Fifth Avenue. “By combining the right inventory with the right mix of online versus in-store, many retailers were able to give consumers what they wanted via the right shopping channels.”

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