New York—Americans just can’t seem to stop talking about the Arctic blast (known as the “polar vortex”) that froze nearly everyone this week. The good thing for all you shivering types is that this didn’t happen a month ago during the holiday shopping period.
From results that surfaced this week, 2013 holiday shopping was lackluster at best.
Lackluster Holiday Results?
ShopperTrak, which tracks retail analytics, said overall in-store sales did increase 2.7% but bad weather and difficult-to-entice shoppers hampered sales and increased discounts.
“Consumers took a break from shopping after Thanksgiving weekend, so retailers were pressured to offer deep discounts and promotions in the final week before Christmas to finish the holiday on a positive note,” said Bill Martin of ShopperTrak.
When the dozen or so retailer who still report monthly figures did so for their December sales, those, too, showed increases but less than expected. The results forced several majors to reduced their fourth quarter or full year earnings estimates. Not to mention the preponderance of price-off promotions cut into gross margins.
Target has its own worries, and they seem to be getting worse. Today, the mass merchant report that it wasn’t just 40 million compromised cards in the debit/credit card fraud debacle, it’s more like 70 million plus. Even Macy’s Inc., which has been a strong performer, announced it was initiating a cost-cutting program that could yield some $100 million in savings. Unfortunately 2,500 jobs will be eliminated as part of that strategy.
Here is this week’s rundown of the top 10 online articles that are a must-read: