Preliminary Reports: Holiday Sales Worst Since 2008?

In What's New, Industry News by Accessories Staff

Purchase, NY–Retailers will be hoping that their post Christmas sales help boost what some retail analysts say has been a lackluster season at retail.

According to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse,which tracks all payment types including credit cards, cash and checks across apparel, electronics, luxurygoods, online and furnishings, holiday-related sales rose a mere 0.7% from Oct. 28 to Dec. 24. That’s well below the 2% increase during holiday 2011 season.

The SpendingPulse results released this week coincide with lowered holiday sales expectations from ShopperTrak, a research firm, that reported last week that it lowered its holiday sales forecast from a 3.3% increase to a 2.5% increase. The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index said sales rose only 0.7% in the week ended Saturday, Dec. 22.

If the preliminary results prove true, holiday 2012 sales which had been predicted to hit a 3% to 4% growth could be the worst year-over-year performance since 2008 when spending fell during the Great Recession. In 2011, retail sales climbed 4% to 5% during November and December, according to ShopperTrak.

Retail analysts pointed to a series of factors that may have dampened holiday sales. Such as Hurricane Sandy’s effects and the gridlock in Congress over the so-called fiscal cliff which would result in higher taxes and spending cuts.

“Who wants credit card debt in January when there will be 2 percent less in the check plus a year of higher tax rates on stale incomes,” Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions, wrote in a note to clients.

There’s still hope, however. According to SpendingPulse, the final week of December can account for 15% of holiday sales.






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