Retail sales soared this Holiday season

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Retail sales from November 1 through Christmas Eve were up 4.9% over last year, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse. That’s the highest rate of growth since 2011.

That number was given a strong boost by online sales, which were up 18.1% over the season. Much of this growth was due to the new ease of shopping online later in the season, as more last-minute shipping options have become available. Last year, online sales grew 18.9%.

“This year was a big win for retail,” Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights at Mastercard, said in a statement. “The strong US economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase.”

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