U.S. holiday sales up 5.5%

U.S retail sales rose 5.5% from the day after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve with women’s apparel and jewellery sales seeing single digit rises.

Total apparel sales showed single-digit growth, with womenswear at mid-single-digit growth since Black Friday, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report.

Market analysts are unsure whether the growth in clothing and footwear sales will transform into profits citing the amount of deep discounting being seen in the sector.

A stronger economy and higher consumer confidence due to falling gas prices and better employment prospects was the driver of the overall sales rise.

Strong areas of spend were casual dining and lodging, posting double-digit and nearly double-digit year-on-year sales growth, respectively, from “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, through Dec. 24.

Sarah Quinlan, SVP at MasterCard, said. The “economy is very strong but they are spending in a different way,” citing the rise of spend on experience over goods.

The report, tracks spending by combining sales activity in MasterCard’s payments network with estimates of cash and other payment forms, and offers an early look into how the holiday season shaped up. Official government data and results from retailers will not be available until next month.

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