NEW YORK, United States — US holiday sales grew a bit faster than expected, the National Retail Federation said, as surging e-commerce orders helped make up for weak department-store traffic.
Spending rose 4 percent to $658.3 billion during November and December, beating a 3.6 percent projection, the trade group said on Friday. Nonstore sales, an indicator of online transactions, jumped 13 percent.
The brighter picture suggests that the high-profile woes of Macy’s Inc. and other department stores were not shared by other retailers. With the unemployment rate low and wages rising, consumers took advantage of low prices and easy online ordering to check items off their holiday lists.
Research firm First Data said this month that retail sales increased 3.6 percent from Oct. 29 through Jan. 2, up from a 3.3 percent gain in the year-earlier period. Online transactions increased 12 percent, the firm said, accounting for 20 percent of overall holiday spending. That compared with 15 percent last year.
By Lindsey Rupp; editors: Nick Turner and Kevin Orland.