U.S. Holiday Sales Rise 0.7%

Pace of growth less than half of last year’s, MasterCard says.

U.S. holiday sales growth slowed by more than half this year after gridlock in Washington soured consumers’ moods and Hurricane Sandy disrupted shopping, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse said.

Retail sales grew by 0.7 percent from Oct. 28 through Dec. 24, the Purchase, New York, research firm said yesterday, without providing a dollar figure in the billions. Sales grew at a 2 percent pace in the same period a year ago. SpendingPulse tracks total U.S. sales at stores and online via all payment forms.

Disruptive Weather

Consumer confidence fell in December to a five-month low, according to a Dec. 21 report. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index slid to 72.9, the weakest since July, from 82.7 in November.

Bypassing Malls

“Instead of having 50-to-70-percent off that the retailers had on Black Friday, it was buy one, get 50 percent off,” Flickinger said. “Shoppers didn’t see the bargains. And the shoppers are bypassing the shopping center, mall-based stores to shop at Amazon.com and other online providers.”

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