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12/27/2013 2:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Holiday Sales Rise 3.5% from Last Year

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

U.S. retail sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 grew 3.5% over last year, helped by mall discounts and sales of jewelry and children’s clothing, according to industry analysis firm MasterCard Advisors.

The increase in purchases, combined with bad weather, caused some parcel carriers to miss pre-Christmas delivery deadlines to consumers, the Associated Press reported.

Retail sales in holiday-related categories, which include luxury goods, electronics and clothing, rose 2.3% in the Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 period, MasterCard Advisors said in its SpendingPulse report. The report, released Dec. 26, tracks retail and online spending that use all payment forms.

“You are seeing, ‘It’s OK for me to go out and spend,’ ” Sarah Quinlan, a senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors, told Bloomberg News. “That being said, they are still being cautious, and they are picking their retailers. It is not hot 2006-2007 spending we are seeing.”

UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp., the nation’s largest parcel carriers, missed some shipments that they had promised by Christmas Eve, AP said. Both companies said they worked diligently to deliver the packages, sometimes bringing in workers on Christmas.

"The volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network,” UPS said in a statement. “We apologize." UPS experienced more problems than FedEx, AP reported.

Neither carrier disclosed how many packages missed Christmas deadlines, though FedEx said 99% of its ground shipments arrived on time.

Retailers such as Inc. and Kohls Corp. offered refunds and gift cards to affected customers.

By Transport Topics

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