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Retail Trends Indicate Holiday Sales Stronger than Expected

Retailers have good reason to celebrate the start of the new year, with the latest retail trends indicating that the holiday shopping season has shaped up to be a relatively healthy one for the retail industry.

According to a report from MasterCard SpendingPulse, which studies transaction and survey data on purchases made with credit cards, cash and checks, retail sales surged 7.9 percent between Black Friday and Christmas Eve compared to the same period last year,. That figure excludes sales of automobiles and gasoline. These numbers exceeded expectations, with the National Retail Federation forecasting a 3.7% rise in holiday sales. The report also found that for all of November and December, sales were up 4.6%, also slightly better than expected.
The SpendingPulse report found that online shopping was consistent with many forecasts for the holidays, with e-commerce sales up 20 percent over the holiday season. Those shopping patterns reflect retail trends that began with the season’s Thanksgiving weekend when brick-and-mortar stores saw a 10.4 percent dip in sales while online sales hit record levels on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

In addition to the strength in online shopping, the report further indicated that furniture sales and the sale of women’s fashions were also bright spots this holiday season.

“After a slow start, I’m very happy to see that the holiday season was hot for retailers,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior VP, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. “We saw some very promising retail trends. The double-digit growth in furniture sales, for instance, shows that consumers are willing and able to splurge on big ticket items.”

- Digital Partner -

Retailers expect the last week of the year to further brighten the beginning of 2016. The National Retail Federation found in a survey that 65.9 percent of holiday shoppers indicated that they planned to shop the week after Christmas. The NRF will release its final holiday shopping results in January.

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