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E-commerce provides boost for holiday retail sales

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Consumer spending on e-commerce sites played a major role in an improvement in retail sales over the holiday season.

Overall retail spending in November and December reached $471.50 billion, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade group, representing an increase of 4.1 per cent on 2010 figures.

E-commerce spending was the real growth story, however, with a 12.3 per cent year-on-year increase pushing sales revenue up to $69.62 billion.

The figures also show that many shoppers got their holiday shopping in early this year, with November outperforming December.

"In a matchup between the final two months of 2011, November clearly wins, but in the end retailers' promotions struck the right chord for budget-focused holiday shoppers," says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the NRF.

The Commerce Department, which will produce its own detailed analysis of holiday sales data on February, claims that e-commerce and mail order sales make up 75 per cent of the non-store retail sector.

Posted by Rachel Wheeler