November 3, 2010, 9:51 AM

Web sales up 7.9% in October

Online apparel notches the largest gain among retail categories, MasterCard says.

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E-commerce sales increased 7.9% in October, more than the 7.8% gain in September and 7.2% rise in August, MasterCard Advisors reported today in its monthly SpendingPulse report.

Online apparel sales enjoyed the largest e-commerce gain, with spending up 16.7%, compared with 13.4% for September, says MasterCard Advisors, a consulting arm of payment card network MasterCard Inc. Family apparel sales increased 25.8%, while footwear was up 17.8%. Total apparel sales—this includes bricks-and-mortar sales—increased only 8.2%, compared with 3.8% in September and 2.6% in August.

E-commerce sales for consumer electronics increased a slight 0.2%, compared with 7.6% in September.  Overall consumer electronics and appliance sales decreased 3.1% in October; the month brought a 1.9% decline for overall consumer electronics and a 8.2% decline for appliances. E-commerce sales for department stores increased 1.4%.

“Overall, October showed a noticeable improvement compared to the same month last year.  E-commerce continued to post solid year-over-year growth, similar to the strong performance in September,” says Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for SpendingPulse.  “Further, building on September’s gains, family and children’s apparel performed well in the immediate post back-to-school clearance season, which was also impacted by the cold weather settling into some parts of the country by early October.”

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 October.

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