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NEWSLETTERS Current Issue SpendingPulse: Holiday season sales rise 3.5%
SpendingPulse: Holiday season sales rise 3.5% PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Friday, 27 December 2013 04:53 PM EST

9653476XS__Istockphoto-mcfieldsDespite a disappointing finish to the season, retail sales for Nov. 1-Dec. 24 grew 3.5% versus the same period in 2012, according to data from MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse.

Holiday-related sales, including clothing, electronics, jewelry and other key gift categories, rose 2.3% compared to the same period the previous year. This was the largest such growth in three years.

Even though this year had six fewer prime holiday shopping days—owing to a later date for Thanksgiving—and inclement weather hindered retail traffic in parts of the country, holiday sales were a clear improvement from the 0.7% growth the 2012 season saw. The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and concerns about the “fiscal cliff” hampered sales last year.

Jewelry and children’s clothing were the biggest sellers this year, while sales of adult apparel, luxury items and electronics were more limp.

Online retail sales in the period of Nov. 2-Dec. 23 grew 10%, according to comScore, but this fell short of the firm’s projections.

Though the shorter holiday season and poor weather may have bit into the bottom line for brick-and-mortar retailers, the shopping season hasn’t necessarily ended now that Christmas is past.

“We are not close to being done with the shopping season,” said Charles O’Shea, senior analyst at Moody’s Investors Service. “There is a lot of innings left to play in the game.”

Analysts at NPD group predicted that the sluggish sales last weekend would result in bigger-than-expected post-Christmas discounts, as retailers would be “in inventory management mode rather than sales growth mode.”

 
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