Sales excluding autos rose 5.1% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year earlier, according to Mastercard

Shoppers delivered the strongest holiday sales increase for U.S. retailers in six years, according to early data.

Total U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose 5.1% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year earlier, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending with all forms of payment. Overall, U.S. consumers spent over $850 billion this holiday season, according to Mastercard.

The figures suggest a stock-market swoon and partial government shutdown haven’t curbed consumer confidence and spending.

“Wall Street is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, while Mr. and Mrs. Main Street are happy with their jobs, enjoying their best wage increases in a decade,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail research and consulting firm. A recent drop in gas prices has helped last-minute spending, he said.

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U.S. Holiday Retail Sales Are Strongest in Years, Early Data Show
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