By Karen Axelton

The holiday shopping season is over and even the post-holiday-discount frenzy has largely come to an end. So what’s the tally?

Retail sales from Nov. 5 through Dec. 24 reached $584.3 billion, an increase of 5.5 percent over the same period last year, reports MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse. The Los Angeles Times says these figures surpassed projections for a 3.3 percent to 4 percent increase for the holiday shopping season.

A particular bright spot was online sales. Although they still account for less than 10 percent of holiday spending, online sales rose by 15.4 percent compared to last year. In 2010, six holiday shopping days had over $1 billion in online sales, more than the three days that achieved that number last year.

After-Christmas sales are so far doing well: According to IBM Coremetrics, online sales on December 26 were up nearly 11 percent from last year, and the average purchase was up by nearly 12 percent.

Especially strong categories:

  • Apparel (up 11.2 percent)
  • Jewelry (up 8.4 percent)
  • Luxury non-jewelry items (up 6.7 percent)

While cold weather in much of the country may have hurt offline shopping, it boosted online shopping and sales of cold-weather clothing.