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.
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. www.shoppertrak.com.