NEW YORK (AP) — Americans buoyed by a strong economy pushed holiday sales growth to a six-year high.
Retail sales rose 5.1 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year ago, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracked spending online and in stores across all payment types, including those who paid by cash or check. Total sales topped $850 billion this year, Mastercard said.
"From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail," said Steve Sadove, a senior adviser at Mastercard and the former CEO of the department store chain Saks.
Online sales continued to grow, up more than 19 percent from a year ago. Last week, Mastercard said online sales made up 13 percent of total retail sales.
Clothing sold well this year -- up nearly 8 percent from last year, the biggest growth for apparel sales since 2010, Mastercard said. Home furniture sales rose 2.3 percent, while electronics and appliances slipped 0.7 percent.