Report: Strong Holiday Sales Growth Over 2012

By RetailFOXBusiness

Despite predictions that the 2013 holiday shopping season might be the weakest in five years, data released Thursday shows otherwise – a sharp uptick in retail sales growth over last year’s figures.

Continue Reading Below

MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks customer spending during the holiday shopping season, said sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 rose 2.3% over the prior year, versus 0.7% from 2012 to 2011, Reuters reported.

"It was actually a Merry Christmas for retailers," Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors, told Reuters. Quinlan said jewelry was the best-performing category during the season.

Stubbornly high unemployment in the U.S. had forecasters a month ago predicting poor holiday sales. But the labor reports from the past two months – October and November – were strong: each saw more than 200,000 jobs added to the economy, and unemployment fell to 7%.

And consumer sentiment has remained surprisingly strong despite the high unemployment rate and a government shutdown in October that also briefly threatened a default by the U.S. on its debts.

Consumers apparently responded to the stronger labor figures and took the Washington, D.C., dysfunction in stride, spending freely on holiday gifts.

What do you think?

Click the button below to comment on this article.