NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Holiday sales are up this year in the United States, a sign consumer spending remains strong despite rising prices on everything from food to rent.
Christmas sales rose 7.6% compared to 8.5% last year, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, when people started spending what they had saved during the first part of the pandemic on all kinds of things, including cash and credit cards. Tracks purchases.
Mastercard SpendingPulse forecast a growth of 7.1%. The figures released on Monday exclude the auto industry and are not adjusted for inflation, which has eased slightly but remains high.
Sales in the United States between November 1 and December 24, a critical period for retail stores, were boosted by clothing and restaurant spending.
By category, clothing purchases increased by 4.4%, while jewelry and electronics purchases declined by 5%. Online sales grew 10.6% and in-person sales grew 6.8% over the previous year. Departmental stores posted a modest 1% growth in 2021.
“This sales season is looking a little different than years past,” Steve Sadow, former president and CEO of Saks and an advisor to Mastercard, said in a statement. “Retail chains cut their prices sharply, but consumers diversified their seasonal spending to accommodate higher prices and reflect a greater appetite for post-pandemic holiday experiences and celebrations.”
Part of the increase reflects higher prices across all goods.
Consumer spending makes up about 70% of economic activity in the United States, and Americans have remained resilient since inflation peaked about 18 months ago.