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Report: Retail Traffic Falls 17.9%

Chicago ShopperTrak’s retail-traffic index reported that total U.S. foot traffic fell a sharp 17.9% for the week ending Dec. 13 as compared to 2007, while the company’s retail-sales estimate reported a 0.3% sales decline for the same period.

While total U.S. foot traffic showed a sharp year-over-year decline despite continued deep discounts to attract shoppers, week-over-week traffic posted a dramatic increase as both the Chanukah and Christmas holidays approach. Traffic for the week ending Dec. 13 as compared to the previous week ending Dec. 6 rose a healthy 16.0%.

Looking at GAFO (which represents sales at stores that sell merchandise normally sold in department stores) retail sales, year-over-year performance again showed a slight decrease as economic pressures continue to slow sales levels and create a more efficient shopper this holiday season. But as with consumer traffic, week-over-week sales showed a huge increase as Christmas and Chanukah draw near and the number of viable shopping days dwindles. Sales for the week ending Dec. 13 as compared to the previous week ending Dec. 6 rose 18%.

ShopperTrak reports that the final weekend before Christmas typically accounts for approximately 11.5% of holiday sales, with Super Saturday representing 4.5% of that figure. In 2007, Super Saturday represented $8.7 billion in GAFO retail sales, up 1.0% from the same day in 2006.

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