Here's another sign that shoppers spent big this holiday season

Americans spent at a record pace this holiday shopping season, according to a report from MasterCard's SpendingPulse....

Posted: Dec 27, 2017 9:39 AM
Updated: Dec 27, 2017 9:39 AM

Americans spent at a record pace this holiday shopping season, according to a report from MasterCard's SpendingPulse.

That's good news for retailers that need to finish strong after a difficult year.

Sales jumped nearly 5% between November 1 and Christmas Eve compared to the same time period last year, according to the MasterCard report. That number tracks in-store and online purchases no matter the payment method, and it excludes car sales.

It's the biggest percentage gain since 2011, when the economy was still coming back from the Great Recession.

Online purchases accounted for much of the increase: They spiked 18% this year. But brick-and-mortar stores posted sales gains, too.

In fact online sales still made up only 11% to 12% of overall purchases, even with the pace of growth this year, said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights for MasterCard.

"While online is important and it's growing, it is dwarfed by what occurs in the physical stores," she said. "The brick-and-mortar growth drove this holiday shopping season."

Still, the ever-growing shift to online shopping has battered many traditional retailers. The number of store closings more than tripled this year to nearly 7,000 -- a record. Bankruptcies jumped 30% compared to last year.

Related: There's a good chance your holiday returns will end up in a landfill

Despite those problems, forecasts indicated that this would be a good holiday shopping season. The unemployment rate stands near a 17-year low, and consumer confidence has been rising steadily, too.

But MasterCard's numbers suggest that the shopping season was even stronger than had been expected. The National Retail Federation, the industry trade group, and other experts estimated about a 4% increase in sales this year.

Related: Retail's toughest year - A record year for store closings

The strong shopping season has helped boost some traditional retailers.

Shares of Macy's are up 33% since their pre-Thanksgiving close, and Kohl's is up 29% -- including a 6% jump Tuesday. Gap has increased 20%, while shares of Target climbed 15%. Shares of the struggling retailer J.C. Penney have even managed a 3.4% gain in the past five weeks.

And the Solactive-ProShares Bricks and Mortar Retail Store Index, which measures retailers that do most of their sales in stores rather than online, has gone up nearly 15%.

Not every retailer has reaped the benefits of a strong holiday shopping season. Sears Holdings, the owner of Sears and Kmart brands, has continued to slide. The company has warned that there is substantial doubt about its ability to stay in business.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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