News Column

Retail Monitor Trims Forecast for Holiday Sales

Dec 19, 2012

Corilyn Shropshire

Holiday shopping

Retailers are expected to rack up fewer sales than originally predicted this holiday season, ShopperTrak reported Wednesday.

The Chicago-based consultancy has lowered its holiday sales forecast to gains of 2.8 percent, down from the 3.3 percent predicted at the start of the holiday season.

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

Several factors played into the revised outlook, including Hurricane Sandy and retailer's selling heavily discounted merchandise.

ShopperTrak monitors foot traffic and sales in more than 50,000 retail locations worldwide. For the week that ended Dec. 15, retail sales increased 16.4 percent from the week before and foot traffic rose 15.1 percent. Still retail sales declined 4.4 percent and foot traffic by 4.3 percent from the same time last year.

Though sales and foot traffic picked up last week, overall they have lagged last year's largely as consumers postponed purchasing and mild weather has slowed sales of cold-weather gear.

"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 expects Saturday. Dec. 22 to be one of the biggest shopping days of the year for retailers as the last minute Christmas shopping rush kicks in.



Source: (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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