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Feb. CE Sales Up 6% At Retail: MasterCard

Purchase, N.Y. – Retail
sales of consumer electronics rose 5.8 percent in February over the year-ago
period, according a report from MasterCard Advisors.

The increase
followed a 0.4 percent uptick in January and represents the sixth consecutive
monthly gain in CE sales, the financial consultancy said.

The growth came
despite severe winter weather that crippled much of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast
and North Central regions, and was achieved without extreme discounting, the
company said. “This may have been due to a much tighter inventory situation
than what we saw last year,” noted Michael McNamara, research and analysis VP
for SpendingPulse, MasterCard’s monthly macroeconomic

report that tracks national retail and service sales.

McNamara attributed
the February increase in part to easy year-over-year comparisons.

Also enjoying a
strong month was the e-commerce channel, where sales spiked 16.7 percent year
over year. While e-tailers may have benefited from the severe weather, it was
the seventh straight month of double-digit growth for online sales.

“This sales
channel continues to outperform traditional brick-and-mortar stores as
consumers shift more of their purchasing online,” McNamara said. Indeed, according
to the SpendingPulse Price Index, which tracks average ticket size, the average
price of an online transaction dropped 3.7 percent from last year, due to
consumers’ increasing willingness to make even small purchases online, McNamara