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Holiday sales jump 4.9% over last year

Despite thousands of store closings this year, Americans supplied a final flurry of spending to give retailers their best holiday season sales since 2011, figures released Tuesday show.
U.S. year-end holiday retail sales rose 4.9% compared to the same period last year, a welcome gift to U.S. retailers amid new signs of consumer confidence.
Online retail shopping similarly increased 18.1%, while overall consumer buying during the holiday period set a new record for dollars spent, according to the sales report issued by Mastercard SpendingPulse.
“Overall, this year was a big win for retail,” Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights, Mastercard, said in a statement issued with the report. “The strong U.S. economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase.”
Although the report showed the 2017 holiday shopping season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 was a winner for all retailers, the results differed by category:
There was no place like home for the holidays for many shoppers, who sent sales of electronics and appliances up 7.5%, the strongest growth of the last 10 year. Sales of home furniture and furnishings separately grew 5.1%. (-USA Today;)

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