“It started with a bang in the week leading up to Black Friday,” Sarah Quinlan, a senior vice president of marketing insights at Mastercard, told the WSJ, adding that retailers benefited this year from Christmas Day falling on a Monday, which allowed shoppers to scoop up last-minute purchases. “Overall, this year was a big win for retail.”

A broader group of consumers added to improved retail sales this year, compared to last year when spending was driven by high-income shoppers. The improved jobs market and rising wages may have helped drive the broader consumer spending spree, analysts and economist said.

“Fewer people are living paycheck to paycheck,” Chris Christopher, executive director of economic-research firm IHS Markit, told the WSJ. “There is a lot more spending from the lower- and middle-income groups, while the upper-income groups are splurging.”

For more information on the consumer sector, visit our consumer discretionary category.

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