NEW YORK (AP) – Holiday sales rose as American spending remained resilient during the critical shopping season despite surging prices on everything from food to rent, according to one measure.

Holiday sales rose 7.6, a slower pace than the 8.5% increase from a year earlier when shoppers began spending the money they had saved during the early part of the pandemic, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks all kinds of payments including cash and debit cards.

Mastercard SpendingPulse had expected a 7.1% increase.

The data released Monday excludes the automotive industry and is not adjusted for inflation, which has eased somewhat but still remains painfully high.