October 6, 2010, 12:08 PM

Web sales grow 7.8% in September, while retail overall is mixed

E-commerce sales growth picked up modestly from August, MasterCard says.

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Amid tepid growth in retail overall, e-commerce grew 7.8% in September, a modest increase from 7.2% growth in August, MasterCard Advisors reported today.

Online apparel sales registered the highest growth among e-retail categories, at 13.4%. Total apparel sales, online and offline, were up 3.8%, following a 2.6% gain in August, according to the monthly SpendingPulse report from MasterCard Advisors, a consulting arm of payment card network MasterCard Inc.

 “Overall, September continued the pattern we have observed of consumers spending selectively and leaning towards non-discretionary rather than discretionary items,” says Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for SpendingPulse.  “The strong performance of the financial markets, which often helps the higher-end sectors, did not appear to do so in September.  The month benefited from late back-to-school shopping, with some apparel shopping pushed back from August to September as parents postpone fall and winter purchases until the cooler weather arrives.”

Besides total apparel, children’s apparel and family apparel grew by more than 10%, according to MasterCard, which did not provide detail on growth in those sub-categories.

In other online categories, footwear sales rose 9% and consumer electronics increased by 7.6%. Jewelry sales by online merchants declined 5.9% in September, the first month this year in which this sub-category declined, according to the SpendingPulse report.

Looking at overall retail sales by merchandise category, footwear grew 0.7%, consumer electronics was up 4.7% and appliances increased by 2.4%.

The MasterCard SpendingPulse estimates include purchases made with all forms of payment, including cash, checks and payment cards of all brands. MasterCard did not provide an estimate for total retail sales growth in September.


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