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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Jewelry, Luxury Sales Show Continued Strength


Jewelry sales for the holiday season have increased 2.6 percent year-over-year, according to MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which tracks national retail and services sales. Luxury sales, excluding jewelry, are doing slightly better at 2.8 percent.

Jewelry sales have grown steadily in the latter part of the season, according to the report, which tracks sales from October 31 to December 11. Overall, retail sales are generally up with some exceptions, most notably electronics.

“The modest growth we first saw with the August Back-to-School season has accelerated. These results suggest that retail spending continues to gain traction,” said Michael McNamara, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse vice president. “Most sectors are showing steady improvements, with Electronics, Department Stores and Furnishings categories recording flat to small declines. The solid November growth rates have continued across most areas through the first half of December.”

In addition to jewelry and luxury, SpendingPulse, which uses card swipe data from MasterCard and estimates of other payment methods, analyzed the Electronics, Apparel and eCommerce sectors. Here are the midseason highlights:

eCommerce continues to be one of the stars of the season with a season-to-date growth rate of 13.5 percent. The sector has been showing double-digit weekly year-over-year growth rates since the second week in November.

The Total Apparel category was up 9.8 percent for the season-to-date. Women's Apparel sales were up 4.4 percent for the season with the category recording a slightly better showing since Black Friday. Men's Apparel sales grew 8.4 percent year-over-year. Growth within the Teen and Family Apparel segments is also strong.

Electronics sales fell below 2009 levels during the three weeks leading up to Black Friday. Sales during the rest of the period barely made up the decline, with sales season-to-date recording a 0.4 percent increase over last year.

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