Women's spending on apparel for the first half of the Christmas season is down, alarming retailers and spawning broad worry in the industry. Experts blame a bleak economy and blah fashions for a slump of nearly 6% compared with a year ago, reports the New York Times. Men’s clothing sales, on the other hand, rose 4.5% in the first 20 days of the season.
In other good news, sales of electronics rose 5.8% and luxury item spending was up 10.8%, MasterCard said in its midseason snapshot. E-commerce, the star of the season, was up 30%. About $285 million has already been spent on holiday purchases. Retailers expect spending to rise 4% this year, the worst growth in 5 years.