Shoppers carry their purchases along Broadway in New York City
Shoppers carry their purchases along Broadway in New York City, May 11, 2008. REUTERS

Retail sales in the US this holiday season rose sharply driven by increased spending on clothing and jewelry.

Excluding autos, retail sales jumped 5.5 percent to $584 billion from November 5 through December 24 year-on-year, posting the best performance in five years, said MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse on Monday.

In the same period last year, retail sales posted a gain of 4.1 percent.

If last year's holiday story was about gaining some stability, this year's is about getting back to growth,” said Michael McNamara, vice president, SpendingPulse.

While sales of apparels rose by 11.2 percent this holiday season, online sales recorded a gain of 15.4 percent. The season also witnessed a recovery in spending on jewelry, luxury and furniture. Sales of jewelry rose 7.2 percent, more than twice compared with last year.

Luxury sales increased 6.7 percent while the sales of electronics posted a gain of 1.2 percent.

“Increasing confidence has freed up more money from savings,” McNamara said.

Personal income and expenditure in the U.S. rose for the fifth month during November, indicating that the average consumer is growing more confident about the economic recovery and their financial situation, according to a report by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Besides, cold weather in most parts of the country in December increased the sales of clothing and online shopping, McNamara added.