Shares of US department stores jumped as Mastercard Inc said shoppers spent over $800 billion during the season, more than ever before, boosted by growing consumer confidence, rising employment and early discounts.
Sarah Quinlan, head of market insights for Mastercard Advisors, disclosed the figure on Tuesday after the payments processor’s analytics arm published its SpendingPulse retail report.
The report said holiday sales in stores and online between November 1 and December 24 rose 4.9 percent, the fastest year-on-year pace of increase since 2011.
Mastercard, which tracks spending by combining sales activity in its payments network with estimates of cash and other payment forms, excluded automobile sales from its figures.
Shoppers wait for the opening of a Macy’s department store in New York on November 23, 2017. Shares of Macy’s Inc rose 5.1 percent thanks to a strong performance during the Christmas shopping season
Most US retail stocks have tumbled this year as they continued to lose sales to online stores, mainly Amazon.com Inc.
Traditional players have also been hurt by heavy investments in technology and discounting, made to keep up with online and off-price competition.
Shares in JC Penney Co Inc rose 7.6 percent on Tuesday, while Kohl’s Corp shares were up 5.8 percent, Macy’s Inc rose 5.1 percent and Nordstrom Inc increased 2.8 percent.
SpendingPulse said the moderate sales increases seen in apparel and department stores were particularly impressive given this year’s slew of store closures.
Shares in JC Penney Co Inc rose sharply on Tuesday thanks to a record-setting Christmas shopping season
Shares of Macy’s Inc have also benefited from a Christmas season bump
Shares of Kohl’s Corporation were up nearly six percent on Tuesday
Online sales rose 18.1 percent during the holiday season, thanks to a late rally in sales, according to Mastercard.
‘But that’s probably only 11 or 12 percent of total retail sales … the bulk of sales still is very much in stores,’ said Quinlan.
‘There’s growth, don’t get me wrong, but we still love that experience of being in store.’
The biggest winner of the holiday season was likely to be Amazon.com once again, however, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll conducted this month.
Amazon.com said on Tuesday that it had topped its worldwide holiday sales record this year, with more than 4 million people opting to trial Amazon Prime in one week during the period.