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Consumers really got into the holiday shopping spirit earlier this year.

Retail sales of apparel, jewelry and luxury items increased sharply in the first half of November, according to a new report from MasterCard Advisor’s SpendingPulse, which tracks sales data from credit card users.

The total sales for clothing and apparel shot up by 9.7% this month compared to the same time last year, while luxury sales from upscale restaurants and designers were up by nearly 7% from the year before.

“Although some sectors such as Furniture and Furnishings remain flat or slightly down, we are now beginning to see sharper increases in key holiday categories, indicating a solid start to the holiday season,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for SpendingPulse, in a press release.

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To some extent, this increase is part of a larger trend that SpendingPulse has observed where seven of the previous 10 months have had stronger sales than the same time the year before.

It’s hard not to see this as a victory for retailers who deliberately ramped up their holiday sales a few weeks earlier than usual in order to attract consumers. Big chains like Sears and Wal-Mart decided to offer pre-Black Friday door buster deals starting at the beginning of this month.

Have you already started to do your holiday shopping, or are you planning to wait until after Thanksgiving? Our Voices of MainStreet have given their opinions, you should chime in too!

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