Sales during the 2013 U.S. holiday season grew from a year earlier as retailers used higher discounts and promotions to attract customers in a season with fewer shopping days, according to MasterCard Advisors.
Holiday sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 rose 2.3 percent, compared with 0.7 percent a year earlier, data published in the MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse report showed on Thursday.
"It was actually a Merry Christmas for retailers,'' Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors, told Reuters, adding jewelry was the best-performing category.
SpendingPulse tracks customer spending on apparel, electronics, jewelry, luxury and home furniture & furnishings categories during the holiday season.
Analysts have called the 2013 holiday season as the most competitive since the recession in 2008, as many Americans battle stagnant wages, higher taxes and the impact from the government shutdown.
Retailers, in response, have slashed prices and used other promotions to lure customers in a season that typically generates 30 percent of sales and 40 percent of profits.