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Sales, Traffic Down At Retail Stores

Chicago – December store traffic and sales continued to climb week over week in December, although both tallies are lower compared to last year.

According to market research firm ShopperTrak, foot traffic and sales for the week ending Dec. 15 declined 4.4 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, year over year.

ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin attributed the decline to this year’s earlier Thanksgiving weekend. “Many consumers delayed their Christmas shopping, and with good reason: They saw 32 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas, the longest interval possible,” he said.

Still, Hanukah-related shopping helped increase foot traffic and sales 15.1 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively, over the prior week ended Dec. 8.

With Christmas less than one week away, the company is forecasting that the week ending Dec. 22 will experience the largest weekly sales volume of the year, and that the Saturday before Christmas (Dec. 22) will be one of the five busiest shopping days of the season.

Despite this last-minute rush, ShopperTrak has lowered its forecasted holiday sales increase from 3.3 percent to 2.5 percent for the months of November and December due to the impact of Superstorm Sandy and steep discounts on merchandise.

However, the company still maintains its projected holiday season foot traffic increase of 2.8 percent over last year, which would represent the first increase in traffic during the holiday season since the recession in 2008.