Early data from MasterCard SpendingPulse shows holiday sales rose 5.5 percent, about in line with forecasts. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Retailers got a nice present the day after Christmas. Holiday retail sales were up 5 and a half percent, according to Mastercard Advisors SpendingPulse- that's about in line with forecasts. Morningstar's Paul Swinand: SOUNDBITE: PAUL SWINAND, RETAIL ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think that signifies both consumers getting higher wages and also the lower gas prices. It is also again, the consumer sentiment numbers were very good so people are feeling a little more change in their pocketbook they are willing to spend on more discretionary items." That helped boost sales of apparel and jewelry, though electronics came in relatively flat. Online sales continued to grow, with mobile becoming even more important. Amazon, for example, had a record breaking year. Holiday sales from its smartphone app doubled compared to last year. And being fast was also key with all that online shopping going on. At Amazon, customers ordered 10 times as many items with same-day delivery this year versus last. Steve Osburn is a retail strategist at consulting firm Kurt Salmon: SOUNDBITE: STEVE OSBURN, RETAIL STRATEGIST, KURT SALMON (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You've got to be able to get it to the customer fast. Two or three years ago that meant 2 maybe 3 day service. Now, in a lot of geographies, that means same-day service and that is where we are seeing the growth of some of these companies that are really focused on just getting it kind of within a specific market or within a couple markets getting it to that customer same day." Customers may not have gone into stores as much- but they did go out a bit more over the holidays. That same MasterCard survey found spending was up, on dining out.