August 4, 2011, 12:15 PM

Another hot month for e-retail

E-commerce sales increased 14% year over year in July, says MasterCard.

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E-retail sales in July increased 14% from the same month a year ago, according to the latest SpendingPulse report from MasterCard Advisors. July marks the ninth consecutive month that e-commerce has posted double-digit gains.

High gas prices and a summer heat wave may have contributed to e-commerce’s growth in July, says Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors.  “The combined highs in temperature and gasoline may be keeping people off of the roads,” he says.  “And that could also be behind the continued strength of e-commerce.”

MasterCard bases the SpendingPulse report on retail sales using all payment forms, including credit and debit cards of all brands, along with cash and checks. As is often the case, this month’s report did not include actual spending in dollars. An estimate for July retail sales growth released today from research firm Kantar Retail says retail sales were up 4.8% during the month, up from 2.9% growth posted a year ago, but down from the 7.1% growth posted in June. The retail sales growth estimate is based on July same-store sales totals reported of 28 retail companies, excluding Wal-Mart. The Commerce Department’s advance monthly retail sales report for July is due next week. The Commerce Department’s report for June showed retail spending was up 8.9% from a year ago, but declined 1.1% from May to June this year.

E-commerce had sales gains in all product categories during the month except electronics. MasterCard did not immediately make available a breakdown of sales growth by category.

For all retail spending, sales decreased for electronics and appliances, and furniture and furnishings, MasterCard says. The report says the apparel and luxury categories performed strongly across all sales channels, including e-commerce and retail stores. Specialty apparel sales in July increased 6.2% from the same month last year, and luxury sales, which include sales at high-end restaurants and food stores, department stores and general apparel but excluding jewelry, was up 11.6% from July 2010.

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