Purchase, N.Y. - A report released Monday by MasterCard Advisors said that retail sales through the second week of December generally continued November’s momentum, with several sectors recording moderate to strong gains.
MasterCard SpendingPulse reports on national retail and services sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.
“The modest growth we first saw with the August Back-to-School season has accelerated,” said Michael McNamara, VP MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “These results suggest that retail spending continues to gain traction. Most sectors showed steady improvements, McNamara added, though electronics, department stores and furnishings categories recorded flat to small declines.
SpendingPulse analyzed the electronics, apparel, e-commerce and luxury sectors. It found that e-commerce continues to be one of the stars of the season with a season-to-date growth rate of 13.5%. The sector has been showing double-digit weekly year-over-year growth rates since the second week in November.
The total apparel category was up 9.8% for the season-to-date. Women’s apparel sales were up 4.4% for the season with the category recording a slightly better showing since Black Friday. Men’s apparel sales grew 8.4% year-over-year. Growth within the teen and family apparel segments also is strong, according to the report.
Electronics sales fell below 2009 levels during the three weeks leading up to Black Friday. Sales during the rest of the period barely made up the decline, with sales season-to-date recording a 0.4% increase over last year. And the jewelry sector season-to-date is up 2.6%, with the luxury ex jewelry category doing slightly better, up 2.8% over the same period last year. Jewelry sales have grown steadily in the latter part of the season.