Make us your home page

Holiday spending surges 5.5 percent over last year

WASHINGTON — Retailers' 2010 holiday sales jumped 5.5 percent for the best performance in five years as shoppers snapped up clothing and jewelry at Macy's, Tiffany and other stores.

Retail sales, excluding autos, rose to $584 billion from Nov. 5 through Dec. 24, said MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which measures retail sales by all payment forms. That compared with a 4.1 percent gain a year earlier. The numbers include sales made over the Web.

Consumers bought coats at chains such as Bloomingdale's as their confidence improved alongside the job market. Their spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the American economy, is a positive sign heading into next year, said Michael McNamara, a vice president at SpendingPulse.

"Increasing confidence has freed up more money from savings," McNamara said. "We pretty much put a bow on what has been a positive season across a number of retail areas. We are seeing this momentum building and being sustained."

A Northeast storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in areas from North Carolina to Massachusetts on Monday and Tuesday probably did little more than hamper store visits and won't dent the overall season's sales, McNamara predicted.

Last-minute Christmas shoppers pushed sales at stores open at least a year up 4.8 percent in the week ended Dec. 25, the strongest year-over-year gain since April, the International Council of Shopping Centers said Tuesday. The numbers are based on the ICSC-Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index.

The New York-based trade group, which tracks more than 30 chains, said sales for the November-December period will rise 4 percent or more. That compares with a previous forecast of 3.5 to 4 percent.

Apparel sales grew the fastest in the 50 days before Christmas, with an 11 percent gain, more than 10 times the pace of last year. Sales of jewelry accelerated 8.4 percent, SpendingPulse said.

Luxury sales rose 6.7 percent, compared with 0.9 percent a year ago. Consumer electronics sales increased 1.2 percent after falling 4.6 percent a year earlier. Furniture climbed 3.8 percent after a 2.2 percent drop last year.

Tiffany, the world's second-largest luxury jewelry retailer, forecast a 10 percent increase in sales in the Americas this year after an 11 percent decline in the previous 12 months.

Buying increased after consumer confidence climbed in December to the highest level in six months. Initial jobless claims fell in the week ended Dec. 18 and the number of people on unemployment benefit rolls dropped to a two-year low, adding to evidence the labor market is improving.

Holiday spending surges 5.5 percent over last year 12/28/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 7:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients


    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel


    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal


    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate


    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]