Retail rocks the holidays

Amazon has “record-breaking” holiday season.

BY Andy Carlo

Retail holiday sales had a banner year in 2018.

According to a report from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which monitors spending in stores and online via payments, U.S. sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 rose 5.1% to more than $850 million. This represents the strongest growth in the past 6 years.

Additionally, online sales during the period increased 19.1% compared to the same period a year ago.

“From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and of Saks Incorporated. “By combining the right inventory with the right mix of online versus in-store, many retailers were able to give consumers what they wanted via the right shopping channels.”

Home improvement spending during the holiday season increased 9%, Mastercard said. Electronics and appliances fell 0.7%, however.

While brick and mortar department store sales fell 1.3% during the period, compared to last year, online sales from department stores grew 10.2%.

In a separate statement issued by e-commerce giant Amazon, the company said it had a “record-breaking” holiday season with more items ordered worldwide than ever before. The company also said that customers shopped at record levels across all departments. Specific holiday sales figures were not disclosed by Amazon.

But the comapny also said that it grew Amazon Prime membership with “tens of millions of people” starting free trials or paid membership. The benefit of membership is free same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping along with exclusive discounts.

“This season was our best yet, and we look forward to continuing to bring our customers what they want, in ways most convenient for them in 2019. We are thrilled that in the U.S. alone, more than one billion items shipped for free this holiday with Prime,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO for worldwide consumer. “Thank you to our employees all around the world who are committed to bringing our customers the widest selection of products with low prices and fast and free delivery options throughout the holidays and all year long.”





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