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Mastercard SpendingPulse : Holiday U.S. Sales Up 5.1%

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday sales increased 5.1 percent to more than $850 billion this year - the strongest growth in the last six years. Online shopping also increased 19.1 percent compared to 2017.

Mastercard SpendingPulse, which provides insights into overall retail spending trends across all payment types including cash and check, reported details holiday shopping from November 1 through December 24.

Total apparel had a strong season with a growth rate of 7.9 percent compared to 2017, recording the best growth rate since 2010. The category followed through on a strong momentum that started during the back-to-school season and accelerated through fall right up to Christmas.

Mastercard SpendingPulse said that Home improvement spending continued to surge across the U.S. with spending during the holiday season up 9.0 percent. This trend started before the holiday season and helped the sector power through to a strong finish.

Department stores finished the season with a 1.3 percent decline from 2017. This follows two years with growth below 2 percent, some of which can be attributed to store closings. However, the online sales growth for department stores indicated a more positive story, with growth of 10.2 percent.

Electronics and appliances were down 0.7 percent. The home furniture and furnishings category grew 2.3 percent.

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