With a final burst of spending enthusiasm, it looks like American consumers may have given retailers happier holidays than they had expected. MasterCard SpendingPulse says sales climbed 7.9% this holiday selling season, with e-commerce sales rising 20%.
The holiday shopping season isn’t quite over for retailers, with millions of customers expected to hit stores and websites this week to redeem gift cards and to treat themselves to steeply discounted goods. And a new study has found that, so far, the holiday season has shaped up to be a relatively healthy one for the retail industry.
Fox’s carefully plotted and expanding merchandising “lifestyle” effort for Empire — in only its second season — goes way beyond standard “Team Cookie” T-shirt fanwear and can take a TV show years of popularity to earn. The younger-skewing appeal of Empire, the enthusiasm of up-and-coming fashion brands like Hood by Air and the acceleration of fashion and retailing in general have combined to make the series a retailing whiz kid.
With most experts predicting moderately stronger holiday sales, consumers are already spending big: IBM Digital. Analytics Benchmark says online sales in the weekend before Thanksgiving are up 18.7% compared with last year. (Mobile traffic accounted for 49% of all online traffic, it says, a 25% jump year-over-year.) Those gains come at a time when retailers have done all they can to disrupt the traditional shopping calendar, with Thanksgiving Day openings and more Cyber Monday promotions stealing attention away from Black Friday.
The International Council of Shopping Centers says that revenue rose 5.5% in September, with several retailers including Target, Limited Brands and Kohl’s posting strong gains as consumers snagged discounted merchandise.