Luxury sales continue to thrive according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse April 2011. In its seventh month of year-over-year gains, the SpendingPulse Luxury Index (excluding jewelry) was up 9.6 percent, the sector's largest gain since May 2010.
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.
Luxury, e-commerce and apparel enjoyed strong growth, and the restaurant category surpassed last month's gains, the report said. However, electronics sales dipped back into negative territory. And while consumer spending in the hotel category continues to see robust year-over-year gains, airline spending dipped to under a 1 percent gain after several months of year-over-year growth.
"Overall, retail sectors were mixed this month," said Michael McNamara, Vice President, Research and Analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. "Several sectors showed continued year-over-year growth, while others were flat or even negative. The shift in the Easter holiday between this year and last may have helped some of the comparisons, especially for apparel, groceries, flowers, and drug stores. For those sectors, it might be more instructive to look at March and April combined. On the other hand, unusually stormy weather in the South and Midwest may have cut down on shopping trips, and may have worked against particular sectors such as hardware."
McNamara also took note of the continued rise in gasoline prices. "Our experience over the past several years suggests that this can have a variety of repercussions for retail," he said. "First, we can expect consumers to make fewer shopping trips, especially on weekends, and this may contribute to an ever stronger growth for e-commerce. Fewer miles driven also reduces demand for auto parts and services. Finally, casual dining restaurants can be negatively impacted."