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Report: US Retail Holiday Sales Best in 6 Years

FILE - Discount signs stand in the window of a clothing store as last-minute shoppers finish up their Christmas gift lists at the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, Dec. 24, 2018.

Retail sales in the U.S. for the 2018 holiday season were up more than 5 percent to more than $850 billion, according to data Mastercard released Wednesday, making 2018 the best holiday retail season in the last six years.

The Mastercard SpendingPulse report tracks retail spending across all payment types, including cash and checks, from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24.

The report said online sales also jumped more than 19 percent from last year.

Clothing and home improvement items were the seasonal favorite, while the sale of electronics fell.

The National Retail Federation had predicted holiday sales to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent from 2017, for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion.

Online giant Amazon said 2018 was a record year for its global holiday sales. Amazon said it shipped a billion products for free in the U.S. alone for its Amazon Prime customers.