Holiday shoppers spent more this year than last, though the totals were still below what had been forecast by the retail industry. Mastercard SpendingPulse said Saturday that sales were up 2.4% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 over the same stretch last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Online sales climbed 47% in that period, as more people did their shopping from home during the pandemic. The National Retail Federation had predicted overall growth of 3.6% to 5.2%. More will be known once the government reports December sales numbers and retailers release their financial results. "This was a healthier holiday season than many had forecast," a Mastercard adviser said, per Reuters.
There are winners among retailers, a consultant said, but "the folks that are playing catch-up continued to play catch up." The winners include Amazon, Walmart, and Target—companies that already had thiving online businesses. Food, home goods, fitness supplies, and holiday decorations sold well; sales of home furniture and furnishings category shot up 16.2%, for example. Clothes and jewelry dropped overall but still posted increases in online sales. Many small retailers finished the season weaker, especially those that were already struggling.
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