US Retail Sales Grew 5.1 Percent This Holiday Season

US holiday shopping season best in six years: report

US holiday shopping season best in six years: report

Shoppers have been bulking up their wardrobes since September, when apparel sales rose as much as 9 percent versus zero growth a year ago, Sadove said. In the USA, more than one billion items shipped for free over the holidays with Prime.

MasterCard said it was the best holiday season for retail in at least six years.

The data also indicated that consumer confidence was not dented by recent volatility in the USA stock markets and worries over slowing global growth.

Despite previously warning of a weaker-than-expected holiday season, Amazon said on Wednesday that it had another record stretch.

The Mastercard report details holiday shopping from November 1 through December 24.

"I don't see that (volatility in the markets and government shutdown) as having any impact ... but I am cautiously optimistic for the consumer going into 2019", Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard told Reuters.

Online pickups and mobile shopping have been popular options this holiday as chains look for new ways to reach shoppers.

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Shares of American Eagle Outfitters, which does a brisk jeans business, rose 10.7 percent, to $19.37, on Wednesday while shares of Urban Outfitters, owner of Free People, Anthropologie and its namesake, were up 7.3 percent, to $34.06. Amazon said Wednesday its holiday sales broke records after it shipped a billion items within the USA for free with Prime, reported Reuters.

Underlying consumers' confidence is near-full employment and rising wages, up more than 3 percent.

Amazon announced on Wednesday that it had a "record-breaking" holiday season.

Apparel sales grew 7.9 percent, the best in almost a decade, according to Mastercard, sending shares of American Eagle Outfitters Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch Co higher.

Department stores finished the season with a 1.3 percent decline from 2017. Home furniture sales rose 2.3 percent, while electronics and appliances slipped 0.7 percent.

The National Retail Federation had forecast US holiday retail sales to rise between 4.3% and 4.8%. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check. Online sales - led by Amazon - were up a whopping 19 percent. Mastercard Inc and Visa Inc were both up almost 2 percent.

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