Now, that makes a lot more sense. MasterCard data excludes many categories that might have shown a significant bounce. The surveys are not apples to apples.
Who's right: MasterCard or the National Retail Federation?
"It is possible that total retail (ex-auto) that includes all the non discretionary sectors could be up north of 3%," MasterCard's Grimes said. "This broader view was up 4.5% in November," she added.
In other words, MasterCard's more complete view--with all sectors--will likely be close to the NRF estimate.
**Clarification: A previous version of this post mentioned that the MasterCard SpendingPulse survey had been of its card members. However, MasterCard SpendingPulse is a survey of charges from card holders in addition to estimates of all payment forms, including cash and check.