Sales on the four days starting with the Thanksgiving holiday rose 1 percent from a year earlier to $22.2 billion, with fewer people hitting stores while spending more, according to researcher ShopperTrak.
Retail traffic during the period fell 4 percent from last year to 1.8 billion store visits, the Chicago-based firm said in an e-mailed statement today. ShopperTrak has forecast purchases will gain 2.4 percent in November and December, the smallest increase since 2009.
ShopperTrak’s data follows other reports indicating holiday sales have been lackluster, increasing the chances retailers will extend deep, profit-eating discounts. The National Retail Federation said Dec. 1 that sales at stores and on the Internet fell 2.9 percent over the holiday weekend, the first decline since 2009, citing a survey it commissioned.
“If retailers find themselves in desperation, you could see deeper discounts again,” Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’s founder, said in an interview.
ShopperTrak compiles sales and traffic data from devices in stores and receipt information, primarily from mall-based sellers of general merchandise, apparel, furniture and electronics. The NRF surveyed 4,464 consumers Nov. 29 through Nov. 30 about their spending and plans, including for online shopping as well as at grocers and other retailers.
Total in-store traffic increased 9.4 percent in apparel while slipping 6.5 percent at electronics stores, ShopperTrak said.
Thanksgiving Day accounted for 10 percent of shopper traffic over the weekend, ShopperTrak said.
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