Holiday 2010 Retail Sales Up 5.5% Over 2009 According to SpendingPulse

Purchase, N.Y, December 27, 2010 -MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales, today provided summary results for the 2010 holiday shopping season. In the 50-day period measured – November 5 through December 24 – the data showed overall season-over-season growth of 5.5% ex-auto as consumer spending continued to show progress compared to the same period in 2009.

“If last year’s holiday story was about gaining some stability, this year’s is about getting back to growth. The 2010 holiday period is categorized by strong year-over-year growth in Apparel and continued strength in eCommerce. We also saw a noticeable return in spending in the larger ticket items, as exemplified by the solid growth in Jewelry, Luxury and even the Furniture category,” noted Michael McNamara, Vice President, Research and Analysis for SpendingPulse.

McNamara also noted that the momentum in 2010 holiday season spending appeared to have started as early as the second week of November, producing a month of solid growth and persisting through the traditional early December lull. “The cold weather across much of the country in December appeared to be a positive for the Apparel sector. While there was some disruptive weather in the Midwest and the West Coast towards the end of the season, the conditions did not seem to negatively impact the national sales momentum. In some cases the weather may have also benefited the eCommerce channel.”

SpendingPulse analyzed the eCommerce , Apparel, Electronics, Jewelry and Luxury ex-Jewelry sectors. Here are the end of season highlights for the period November 5 -December 24:

As with last year’s holiday season, eCommerce was the big winner this year, with seasonal sales up 15.4% . With online sales representing significant share of sector sales in areas such as Apparel, the double-digit growth rates are becoming more meaningful.

Total Apparel was a strong performing category, growing 11.2% over the 2009 holiday season. Menswear reached double digit growth weighing in at 10.5% year-over-year. The Women’s Apparel category grew by 5.6%, making for one of the best periods of growth in this subcategory since the financial market turmoil in 2008. Considering the Apparel category was down by 0.4% during the 2009 season, the segment recorded a significant turnaround this season.

The Electronics category was one of the lagging performers, growing 1.2% season-to-season. The flat to modest growth rates posted by the category throughout the holiday season could be due to the decline in TV prices, making it difficult for the sector to produce significant year-over-year growth.

Jewelry and Luxury
Jewelry and Luxury ex-Jewelry both improved during the 2010 season. After a mild start, Jewelry posted several weekly year-over-year increases and ended the season up 8.4%. Luxury ex-Jewelry started the season with a solid gain and then picked up steam, ending with a very respectable season-to-season growth of 6.7%.

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