SOURCE: MasterCard Advisors

MasterCard Advisors

November 24, 2009 08:30 ET

SpendingPulse: Retail Sales Generally Level Going Into the Holiday Season

Despite a Mild Post-October Apparel Slowdown, Stable Retail Environment Continues

PURCHASE, NY--(Marketwire - November 24, 2009) - MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, a macro-economic report tracking national retail and service sales, today provided summary results for the first half of the month, through November 14, 2009. Retail sales were generally stable leading up to the holiday season, although some apparel sectors were showing mild year-over-year declines after the relatively strong showing in October. To listen to an audio podcast about SpendingPulse's pre-season report, please visit:

"Since the spring of 2009, a generally stable environment has persisted. And as we have come into October and November 2009, some industry sectors are beginning to show smaller year-over-year declines, while others are showing positive year-over-year comparisons," noted Kamalesh Rao, Director of Economic Research for SpendingPulse.

SpendingPulse data also suggests that there exists a more stable pricing environment, with the average price index information indicating less discounting taking place. "As retail inventories appear to be more aligned with consumer demand this year, there hasn't been the same need for the widespread and emergency discounting that occurred in November 2008," noted Rao.

For the pre-season period through November 14, 2009, sales within the Specialty Apparel category were down 5.0% against the same period last year. While this number is down from the 3.4% increase in October, it is much better than the double digit decline the sector experienced during the first two weeks of November 2008.

Year-to-year Women's Apparel sales were down 3.3%, and Men's Apparel was down by 1.0%. In both cases, these figures are still improvements over earlier in the year. Women's apparel had shown 9 months of double-digit year-to-year declines since October of 2008. Footwear sales, which had shown two consecutive months of year-to-year increases in September and October, cooled to a 1.5% year-to-year decline in the first two weeks of November.

Luxury showed the largest drop, with a 9.2% year-to-year decline, after posting an increase in October.

Finally, electronics sales for the period were up 6.1% year-to-year, and the eCommerce channel continues to experience growth with an increase of 19.4% over the first two weeks of November 2008.

Rao concluded, "The numbers overall continue to be much improved to the declines the sectors have experienced over the past year."

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MasterCard Advisors provides payments consulting, information, analytics, and customized services to financial institutions and their merchant partners worldwide. Addressing complex challenges in strategy, marketing, risk, and operations, MasterCard Advisors helps clients maximize the value of their payments businesses. As the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Advisors is uniquely qualified to provide clients with insights and solutions that drive tangible impact and financial gain. For more information, go to

About MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes approximately 21 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to

SpendingPulse™ Data Source: A macro-economic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail and service 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. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide.

Contact Information

  • For further information contact:

    Meir Kahtan
    Meir Kahtan Public Relations, LLC
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    Jennifer Stalzer
    MasterCard Worldwide
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