MasterCard: Retail sales grew by a ‘solid’ 7.9 percent

Amazon Holiday Sales

Retail sales grew by a “solid” 7.9% thanks to strong online sales and demand for furniture and women’s apparel, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

The report found that US retail sales, excluding automobiles and gas, grew by 5.5 percent in the period between Black Friday and Christmas Eve last year.

Online sales were the biggest winner with a 20% increase in the holiday season this year.

“The double-digit growth in furniture sales … shows that consumers are willing and able to splurge on big ticket items,” Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights at MasterCard Advisors, said in the report.

Warm weather delayed early shopping, however, customers used their pent up spending to surge sales forward following Black Friday, the report says.

Quinlan said consumers were spending the money they were saving from lower gas prices.

The National Retail Federation forecasted a 3.7% rise in store and online sales in November and December this year, with online sales expected to rise 6 to 8%.