Report: Holiday Retail Sales Up, But Lagging Last Year’s Results

In an effort to capture last minute shoppers, Macy’s now-misnamed “One Day Sale” will last from 7 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 21, until 7 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23. At that point, the sale will end, but Macy’s will remain open for the remainder of the day.

Chicago—First the good news: Super Saturday, Dec. 22, is expected to be one of the biggest shopping days of the year for retailers thanks to the last-minute rush to get shopping in before Christmas.

The not-so-good news: ShopperTrak, the retail consultancy that monitors weekly U.S. retail sales, said today that it has lowered the holiday sales forecast to a 2.8% gain, down from its previous estimate for a 3.3% increase predicted at the start of the holiday season. Holiday shopping foot traffic, however, will remain at its original prediction of a 2.8% increase.

ShopperTrak maintains that holiday season foot traffic will remain at its original forecast of 2.8 percent growth.

Among the reasons for the downgraded forecast: the impact of Hurricane Sandy on many highly populated regions of the Northeast and retailers’ selling heavily discounted merchandise in an effort to gain market share.

For the week ended Dec. 15, ShopperTrak, which monitors foot traffic and sales at more than 50,000 retail locations, reported retail sales increased 16.4% from the previous week as foot traffic rose 15.1%. But retail sales were down 4.4% and foot traffic by 4.3% from the same time in 2011.

‘Consumers Delayed Their Shopping’

In fact, despite the increases posted last week, sales and foot traffic have lagged last year’s numbers as shoppers delayed purchases and warmer weather has hampered sales of cold weather wear.

“Hanukkah-related shopping helped boost retail sales last week, but many consumers delayed their Christmas shopping–and with good reason. They saw 32 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas, the longest interval possible,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “However, time is running out and Christmas is less than one week away.

ShopperTrak analyzed retail foot traffic from more than 50,000 locations across 74 countries to create this National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) of general merchandise, apparel, accessories, furniture and other specialty categories.

About ShopperTrak

ShopperTrak is a retail technology company that anonymously counts people, analyzes data and identifies opportunities to increase revenue for retailers, mall developers and entertainment venues. Founded in 1995, ShopperTrak counts billions of shoppers annually in more than 50,000 locations across 74 countries. The Chicago-based company has more than 200 employees with offices in High Wycombe, England; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Shenzhen, China; and San Francisco.




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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology.