Report Says Holiday Sales Rose

Retail sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 rose an estimated 3.6% according to MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse macro-economic report.

But tempering these results is the fact that there was an extra day this year over last year’s holiday season, said SpendingPulse VP-research and analysis Michael McNamara. Adjusting for this could decrease the season’s year over-year-growth statistics by anywhere from 2% to 4%.

“Overall this year, we have seen increasing stability in spending, as opposed to the free-fall of 2008,” McNamara said in a statement. “This is especially significant considering that prices have been holding up this season, without the broad emergency discounting that consumers benefited from during the 2008 holiday season.”

The extra shopping day may have given some lift to overall year-over-year comparisons, McNamara said. Also, early discounting in 2008 drew holiday spending into early November, while this year shopping didn’t really take off until Black Friday. That shift in sales patterns is one of the factors that made November of this year look weak, and December look stronger.

Also, several major winter storms disrupted traffic to brick and mortar locations that seemed to benefit online shopping growth rates. From Nov. 1 to Dec. 24, e-commerce sales rose 15.5%, and 18% between Black Friday and Dec. 24.

The following sectors watched by SpendingPulse between Black Friday and Dec. 24 saw a rise in sales over the same period in 2008: Specialty apparel (2.3%), women’s apparel (1.5%), men’s apparel (3.9%), footwear (5%), electronics (6%).

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