U.S. retail sales reached their highest level year-over-year since April 2010, a new report issued by MasterCard revealed—a sign that this year’s bad weather did not prevent American consumers from spending.
Spending, excluding auto sales, grew by 5.5% year-over-year in January, according to the card payment processor’s MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse report, which tracks national retail and service sales. The strong growth numbers, which were on par with December’s figure and slightly higher than November numbers, are considered by the payment processing company to be “a healthy rate of growth in most standards.”
“Overall, retail spending managed to maintain its momentum following an already-strong holiday season,” the company’s director of economic research Kamalesh Rao said in a statement released on Monday. “Despite some very challenging weather conditions in many parts of the country, and unemployment numbers that have not yet improved significantly, during the last two months we saw the strongest growth rate for total U.S. retail sales ex-autos since April 2010.” Rao added that year-to-year growth for three month totals stood at 4.9% in January, which was the highest growth rate since 2007.
Sectors that showed positive results included eCommerce, luxury, apparel and travel (including airlines and lodging), while weaker segments included jewelry, furniture and automotive repair and maintenance. While spending grew in every part of the country, the highest rates were seen in the South Central and Southeastern U.S. regions, which saw growth of 9.7% and 7.7%, respectively.
How did this year’s weather conditions affect your spending habits? Let us know in the comments section.