Washington (AFP) -
US consumers were in the mood to spend this holiday season, with retail sales soaring 8.5 percent over last year, a study released Sunday showed.
Online sales were up 11 percent and in-store sales up 8.1 percent between November 1 and Christmas Eve, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse study.
The increase, which was the strongest in 17 years, does not reflect automobile sales.
'Consumers splurged throughout the season,' said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO of Saks Incorporated.
The boom saw 'apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best dressed foot forward,' he said.
Americans flocked to clothing, which experienced a 47.3 percent increase in sales year-to-year as well as jewelry, with a 32 percent increase.
The period included several weeks before the Omicron Covid-19 variant spread widely in the United States.
Department store sales were up 21.2 percent, while electronic products experienced 16.2 percent growth.
'It's been a resurgent season for retailers as consumers stocked their carts with gifts and gadgets,' Mastercard said.
The study also indicated that US households made their purchases earlier than in years past, including to lock in 'guaranteed by Christmas' delivery.