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US fashion retail sales up 4.4 percent during holiday season

By Huw Hughes


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Image: JCPenney

Fashion retailers in the US experienced a year-on-year increase in sales during the crucial holiday season, new data reveals.

Apparel sales were up 4.4 percent year-on-year in the period between November 1 and December 24, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment and is not adjusted for inflation.

Meanwhile, jewellery sales dropped 5.4 percent.

Overall retail sales, excluding automotive, increased by 7.6 percent.

“This holiday retail season looked different than years past,” said Steve Sadove, a senior advisor for Mastercard and the former CEO and chair of Saks Incorporated.

“Retailers discounted heavily but consumers diversified their holiday spending to accommodate rising prices and an appetite for experiences and festive gatherings post-pandemic,” he said.

Black Friday was unsurprisingly the standout performer again, with spending up 12 percent compared to the prior year, excluding automotive. This was followed closely by Saturdays in December.

Online sales remain strong

And despite stores reopening following the end of the pandemic, online sales grew 10.6 percent, making up 21.6 percent of total retail sales, compared to 20.9 percent in 2021 and 20.6 percent in 2020.

“The channel continues to experience elevated growth as consumers prioritize convenience and availability of discounts,” Mastercard said.

Meanwhile, in-store sales increased by 6.8 percent.

The year-on-year growth this holiday season came despite US consumers battling rising inflation.

“Inflation altered the way US consumers approached their holiday shopping - from hunting for the best deals to making trade-offs that stretched gift-giving budgets,” said Michelle Meyer, North America chief economist at Mastercard Economics Institute.

“Consumers and retailers navigated the season well, displaying resilience amid increasing economic pressures,” she said.

Holiday Season