Jewelry outpaces overall holiday sales at major retailers

U.S. chain store sales picked up markedly during the Christmas week as shoppers went bargain hunting, though it was not enough to rescue the month as a whole for retailers, Instinet Research said in its Redbook report on Tuesday.

The pace of sales at major retailers grew by 3.9% on a year-over-year basis for the week ended Dec. 27, accelerating from a 2.9% pace the preceding week, the report said. Still, sales so far in December were down 1% when compared to November.

The report noted the good cheer was spread unevenly, with some retailers enjoying stellar gains while others lagged. Shoppers concentrated on gift and holiday categories, including toys, electronics, jewelry, and food.

Gift-cards were more popular than ever with millions of recipients rushing to the stores in the day after Christmas, Reuters reports.

The Redbook data are compiled from a sample of same-store sales at general merchandise retailers representing about 9,000 stores. Same-store sales measure revenue at stores open at least one year. The index is released weekly by Instinet Research, a division of Instinet, a Reuters-owned electronic brokerage.