Shoppers delivered the strongest holiday sales increase for U.S. retailers in six years, according to early data.
Citing Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending with all forms of payment, The Wall Street Journal reports total U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose 5.1% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year earlier. Overall, U.S. consumers spent over $850 billion this holiday season, according to Mastercard.
The figures suggest a stock-market swoon and partial government shutdown haven’t curbed consumer confidence and spending.
“Wall Street is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, while Mr. and Mrs. Main Street are happy with their jobs, enjoying their best wage increases in a decade,” says Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail research and consulting firm. A recent drop in gas prices has helped last-minute spending, he adds.
Sales have been generally strong throughout the holiday season, led by increases in online shopping.