Mastercard Says U.S. Holiday Season Retail Sales Up 5.1% From Last Year

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports that U.S. holiday sales from November 1 through December 24 increased 5.1% to more than $850B this year, calling this "the strongest growth in the last six years."

Online shopping also saw gains of 19.1% compared to 2017, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which reports on national retail sales across all payment types based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check. Total apparel had a strong season with a growth rate of 7.9% compared to 2017, while electronics and appliances were down 0.7%, Mastercard stated.

"Department stores finished the season with a 1.3% decline from 2017. This follows two years with growth below 2%, some of which can be attributed to store closings. However, the online sales growth for department stores indicated a more positive story, with a growth of 10.2%," the report added.

Publicly traded department store retailers include J.C. Penney (JCP), Kohl's (KSS), Macy's (M), Nordstrom (JWN) and Sears (SHLD). Mass market retailers include Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT). Specialty retailers include Best Buy (BBY), Gap (GPS) and L Brands (LB). 

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Gary Anderson 3 months ago Contributor's comment

But tech was down, a very bad sign.