U.S. holiday retail sales were up 7.9 percent, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Consumers finally showed up for the holiday shopping season. U.S. holiday retail sales were up 7.9 percent, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, thanks to a late season spending surge. Sales had been lukewarm in part because the weather was unusually warm in much of the United States. Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights for MasterCard, saw two key trends: (SOUNDBITE) SARAH QUINLAN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MARKET INSIGHTS, MASTERCARD (ENGLISH) SAYING: "One we did buy a lot online, so twenty percent growth year-over-year in online spending. And, secondly, we, finally, bought the clothes that have been sitting on the shelf for so long. " Furniture was a big seller, according to MasterCard, a sign consumers are willing and able to spend on big ticket items. Also a factor: consumers finally starting to spend the savings they've been seeing at the gas pump. The numbers were an improvement from the forecast from the National Retail Federation. The leading industry group, had forecast a 3.7 percent rise in store and online sales in November and December this year, with online sales expected to rise just six to eight percent.