November 22, 2010, 9:27 AM

E-commerce sales accelerate in early November

Web retail sales increased 11.4% in early November, MasterCard says.

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Online retailers are off and running early in the holiday season, registering 11.4% growth from Oct. 31 through Nov. 13, MasterCard reported today. That represents a significant uptick in e-commerce growth after year-over-year increases in the 7-8% range from August through September in the monthly SpendingPulse report from MasterCard Advisers, a consulting arm of the payment card network.

Overall, retail sales were healthy in early November, says Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors.

“Although some sectors such as furniture and furnishings remain flat or slightly down, we are now beginning to see sharper increases in key holiday categories, indicating a solid start to the holiday season,” McNamara says.  “For now at least, we are seeing some decent growth numbers and while levels are not yet back to 2007, the year-over-year growth stats are helping to get the holiday season off to an encouraging start.”

Total sales of apparel, including online and in bricks-and-mortar stores, grew 9.7% against the comparable period last year. Total sales of luxury goods, which includes sales at high-end restaurants, food stores, department stores and general apparel categories but excludes jewelry, were up 6.7%, a sharp contrast from last year when that category fell 9.2%.

Electronics and appliances registered a 0.7% gain in early November, reversing a 3.1% decline in October. The consumer electronics sub-category was up 0.4%.

MasterCard provided no breakdown of e-commerce sales in this report.

The SpendingPulse report is based on retail sales using all payment forms, including credit and debit cards of all brands, cash and checks.

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