MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse said most retail sectors posted positive year-over-year growth in October. From a sector-by-sector point of view, categories continued to stabilize, building strength onto the more tepid growth seen in previous months. Nevertheless, there were a few exceptions, wherein a few sectors demonstrated weakness compared to the same month in 2009.
A macro-economic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail and services sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check.
Year-over-year overall apparel sales 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 enjoyed 7 out of 10 months of year-over-year gains so far in 2010. Within the sector, women’s apparel enjoyed 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 a very respectable 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 Consumer Electronics sub-category was down by 1.9% while the Appliance sub-sector fell sharply, by 8.2% year over year.
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 eCommerce 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. The biggest gainers were the Apparel sub-category, which was up 16.7% particularly the Family category, up 25.8%; and Footwear, up 17.8%. Notably, Electronics eCommerce sales increased only 0.2%, and Department Stores in the online channel saw growth of only 1.4%, taking a break from the bigger gains seen from December 2009 through June 2010.