Feb. CE Sales Up 6% At Retail: MasterCard

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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 observed.


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