WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. retail sales registered the strongest growth in six years during the current festive season, driven by strong online sales, according to a report released by MasterCard on Wednesday.
U.S. retail sales rose 5.1 percent during the shopping season from before Thanksgiving through Christmas. Meanwhile, online shopping saw a surge of 19.1 percent on year, according to MasterCard's report.
During the data collecting period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24, MasterCard reported that retail sales in the United States rose beyond 850 million U.S. dollars.
Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard, said that the surge in retail sales reflected the confidence of consumers.
"From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail," said Sadove.
However, MasterCard noted that sales at department stores dropped 1.3 percent on year after two years of humble growth under 2 percent, partly due to closing of stores. Luckily, online sales growth for department stores rose 10.2 percent.
Speaking of the sales performance of several major shopping categories, the report noted that sales of total apparel increased 7.9 percent year on year, which was the fastest growth since 2010.
Another highlighted category was home improvement spending, which surged 9 percent during this holiday season, according to the report.
Sales of electronics and appliances dropped 0.7 percent, and the home furniture and furnishings rose 2.3 percent.
Sadove said the increase in retail sales could be attributed to decent inventory management and distribution strategy.
"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," Sadove said.