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Report: Retail shows gains in March


PURCHASE, N.Y. According to the MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse report, most retail sectors continued to demonstrate solid year-over-year gains in March as easy year-over-year comparisons helped produce positive growth rates. From a geographic point of view spending was positive across most regions of the country, the Pacific Coast being the exception.

Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for SpendingPulse, observes, “Areas showing the largest year-over-year increases were online sales and luxury retailers.  In addition, all areas of apparel were also comfortably in positive territory.   Prices maintained their levels as inventories continued to be aligned with demand and retailers did not seem to have had to resort to discounting in order to drive traffic during the Easter shopping season.”


The e-commerce channel was up 18.4% from last year, its 8th consecutive month of double digit growth, demonstrating that the channel continues to grow at a faster rate than traditional brick and mortar stores.


Luxury sales posted a 22.7% year-over-year increase.  It is important to note that this is being measured against March 2009, a month in which we saw significant double-digit declines in this sector.


Specialty apparel Sales increased a solid 5.2% with strength across the board as every subsector posted positive year-over-year gains. Some of the strength in this category may be attributed to an earlier Easter this year, pushing much of the pre-Easter spending into March.


Overall electronics sales were up 4.9% year-over-year, posting a strong growth of 6.8% in the appliance sub-sector and a gain of 4.5% year-over-year for consumer electronics sales.  Tempering this, it is important to note that this sector is still down 4.2 % when compared to March of 2008.

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