Editors' pick: Originally published Dec. 28.
Holiday shoppers who put off buying gifts until the last minute are in good company this year.
Brick-and-mortar sales were up 6.5% year-over-year for the week ended December 24, according to a report released Tuesday by retail analytics company RetailNext.
Total retail sales rose 4% from the month of November to Christmas Eve, Reuters reports, citing data from MasterCard's (MA) - Get Report holiday spending report. But average spending per person over the Thanksgiving weekend fell to $289.19 from $299.60 a year ago, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
This variance also indicates a surge in last-minute spending on holiday gifts.
High demand for furniture, home furnishings and men's apparel helped retail sales outperform the 3.8% gain expected between November and Christmas Eve, according to the MasterCard report.
The holiday shopping frenzy continued through December 26. Consumers are typically drawn back into stores the day after Christmas to make returns, and many retailers run end-of-year sales to drive even more spending.
"The day after Christmas is historically one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and from our checks, we believe it continues to rank among the top shopping days of the season," MKM Partners analyst Roxanne Meyer said in a note today.
More retailers ran promotions that were steeper than a year ago on Christmas Eve than on December 26 this year, according to MKM.
Christmas Eve saw deep discounts at Chico's (CHS) - Get Report , White House Black Market, Express (EXPR) - Get Report , Gap (GPS) - Get Report , Banana Republic, Victoria Secret (LB) - Get Report , Anthropologie (URBN) - Get Report and Urban Outfitters, the firm said. White House Black Market, Express, Banana Republic, Anthropologie and Bath & Body Works all ran discounts on December 26 that were greater than a year prior.
Overall, MKM has named off-price retailers such as Burlington Stores (BURL) - Get Report , Ross Stores (ROST) - Get Report , and TJX Cos. (TJX) - Get Report , as well as sportswear company Lululemon (LULU) - Get Report , winners this holiday season.
As 2016 comes to a close, consumers are optimistic about the economy heading into the new year. The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 113.7 this month from 109.4 in November, The Conference Board said yesterday.
"The post-election surge in optimism for the economy, jobs and income prospects, as well as for stock prices which reached a 13-year high, was most pronounced among older consumers," Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board said in a statement. "Looking ahead to 2017, consumers' continued optimism will depend on whether or not their expectations are realized."
Certain analysts speculate that the retail sector could benefit from an increase in discretionary income from President-elect Donald Trump's proposed tax cuts.
The President-elect has also proposed a tax on imported goods, which could benefit off-price retailers while negatively impacting apparel, footwear and watch manufacturers.