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SpendingPulse: Apparel and luxury big winners in October


Purchase, N.Y. A report released Wednesday by MasterCard Advisors found that sales in most retail sectors posted positive year-over-year growth in October compared with last year, and the apparel and luxury categories posted the biggest gains.

According to SpendingPulse, which bases its results on a combination of surveys and aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, year-over-year overall apparel sales in October were up a sharp 8.2%, building on the 3.8% gain in September. October saw the year’s largest year-over-year increase for the sector, which has experienced seven out of 10 months of year-over-year gains so far in 2010.

“Overall, October showed a noticeable improvement compared to the same month last year,” said Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “E-commerce continued to post solid year-over-year growth, similar to the strong performance in September, while positive financial market performance seemed to help higher-end sectors such as Luxury and some sub-sectors of Jewelry.”

Within the sector, women’s apparel saw a 5.3% year-over-year gain, while the children’s and family segments saw solid gains, as they did in September, posting increases respectively of 8.7% and 11.6%.

Footwear was up 5.9%, with men’s apparel the only category to lose ground, down 0.3%, nonetheless milder than September’s 3.4% year-over-year decline.

Following four straight months of year-over-year gains, the consumer electronics and appliances segment declined by 3.1% in October. The decline can be accounted for by the significant fall in total ticket prices for this category.

The SpendingPulse Luxury ex-Jewelry Index -- which reports on sales at high-end restaurant, food stores, department stores and general apparel categories -- posted positive results in October, growing 4.2% year-over-year. This performance is further underscored by the fact that September marked the end of the easy year-over-year comparison environment that persisted through the first eight months of 2010.

In the e-commerce sector, sales posted a year-over-year growth rate on par with those of August and September. With an increase of 7.9%, the overall sector is up slightly higher than September’s year-over-year gain of 7.8%, and August’s 7.2% increase.

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