Making Christmas Merry Again: Retail Sales Boom 4.9 Percent

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: A boy waits to enter the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew …
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

It was not just Santa’s elves who were busy this holiday season.

Shoppers were out in force this year, pushing retail sales up at their fastest pace since 20011, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.

Sales rose 4.9 percent from November 1 through Christmas Eve, handily beating the 3.7 percent gain of last year. Online retail sales rose 18.1 percent.

“Overall, this year was a big win for retail,” Mastercard’s Sarah Quinlan told the Wall Street Journal.

The rising sales figures reflect near record high consumer confidence and a strong jobs market. Consumer confidence hit its highest level in 17 years in November. Unemployment fell to a 17 year low in October.

Although online retailers led the way, all types of stores shared in the holiday spirit. That includes big box stores, discounters, specialty, and full price stores, according to data from market analysts. FedEx and UPS are also expected to see additional revenue generated from all the online sales.

The boom may extend into the coming weeks. Sales of gift cards are not counted until they are redeemed. So as those are cashed in, sales could remain brisk.

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