US holiday retail sales are strongest in years, early data reports

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BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 24: Shoppers make their last minute purchases on Christmas Eve on December 24, 2018 in Birmingham, England. Financial management consultancy Deloitte has predicted larger than normal discounts for boxing day sales as retailers aim to recuperate sales after a weak lead up to Chrismas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Deck the malls, indeed! 

According to early data, shoppers delivered the strongest holiday sales increase for U.S. retailers in 6 years, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, total U.S. retail sales (excluding auto sales) rose 5.1 percent compared to last year. 

Overall, U.S. consumers spent over $850 billion this holiday season. 

Retail experts say sales have been generally strong throughout the holiday season, which was led by increases in online shopping. 

According to data, retailers kicked off the holidays strong as online sales jumped 26.4 percent from a year earlier between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through Black Friday, which is one tell-tale sign of an early buying surge. 

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