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by Christy Gren

The 2013 U.S. holiday sales are termed as the most competitive since the recession in 2008. Winter holiday sales have increased from a year earlier as retailers used higher discounts and increased promotions which encouraged consumers to shop more.

According to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, U.S. Christmas retail sales grew 3.5 percent during the holiday season this year, helped by huge discounts at malls and purchases of children’s apparel and jewellery. Sales of holiday connected categories, such as apparels, electronics and luxury goods, increased by 2.3 percent from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 compared to 0.7 percent last year. SpendingPulse tracks total U.S. holiday sales at stores and online through all payment forms. This was the highest sales growth in three years.

“It was actually a Merry Christmas for retailers,” Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors, told Reuters, adding that jewellery was the best-performing category.

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