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CE Holiday Sales Up 1.2%: Report

New York – CE sales rose
a tepid 1.2 percent at retail this holiday season, lagging other consumer
product sectors.

According to MasterCard
Advisors’ SpendingPulse report, total retail sales rose 5.5 percent from Nov.
5-Dec. 24, led by a 15.4 percent spike in


and buoyed by such categories as apparel and jewelry.

In contrast, CE “was one of the lagging performers,” MasterCard
said, attributing flat to modest growth rates throughout the holiday season to

in TV prices


“If last year’s holiday story was about gaining some stability,
this year’s is about getting back to growth,” said Michael McNamara, research
and analysis VP for SpendingPulse.

McNamara also noted that the momentum in 2010 holiday-season
spending appeared to have started as early as the second week of November,
producing a month of solid growth and persisting through the traditional early
December lull.

SpendingPulse sales data
includes national retail and services sale, and are based on aggregate sales
activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based
estimates for all other payment forms, including cash, check and other credit

A separate report, by the
International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs, projects
that chain store sales rose better than 4 percent for the November-December
period, representing the best showing since 2006.

The research partners project
an increase of about 3.5 percent for December, and recorded a 4.8 percent spike
the week leading up to Christmas Day, their strongest rate since April 24, 2010.

“Consumers hurried to
complete their last minute holiday-gift buying ahead of Christmas Day as many
workers had additional shopping time on Christmas Eve, which was a federal
holiday for many since Christmas Day fell on a Saturday,” said Michael Niemira,
ICSC research VP and chief economist. “That last-minute holiday spending lift
was aided by consumers who had more money as a result of the improving economy,
more time as a result of the Friday holiday and more holiday-season excitement
than in many years.

The projections are based
on ICSC’s and Goldman Sachs’ Weekly Chain Store Sales Snapshot, which measures
U.S. same-store sales at a statistically representative sample of 40 major retail
chains (excluding restaurants and car dealers).