CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Retailers in West Virginia received their own gift for the holiday season with an increase in shoppers and purchases.

Holiday sales were up 4.9 percent across the country, the highest since 2011. The numbers were similar in the Mountain State, according to West Virginia Retailers Association President Bridgett Lambert.

“The retail industry in West Virginia experienced a very positive 2017 holiday season with a lot of traffic in our stores and a lot of great deals for consumers,” Lambert said Wednesday.

It was a welcomed shift for retailers that have suffered along with the state’s economy in recent years, Lambert said.

“We’ve had some dismal holiday seasons the past few years across the United States and in West Virginia,” Lambert said.

National analysts are pointing toward consumer confidence and so is Lambert.

“Across the state and across the retail industry there is some change going on but consumer confidence seemed to drive this holiday season,” she said.

Lambert said this is also a big week for retailers with consumers spending the gift cards they got for Christmas along with end-of-year deals at retailers.

Retailers also benefited from online purchases. Online shopping was up 18 percent nationwide.

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