Chicago ShopperTrak’s retail traffic index reported that total U.S. foot traffic for the 2008 holiday shopping season (November through December) fell a significant 15.0% as compared to the same period in 2007, while the company’s retail sales estimate reported a dramatic 4.4% retail sales decline for the season.
Both the traffic and sales numbers represent record lows since ShopperTrak began compiling this data in 2003, dropping significantly from the company’s rather dire preseason holiday forecast of a 9.9% total U.S. foot traffic decline with a 0.1% rise in retail sales.
Traffic for the month of November fell 16.7%. The 2008 calendar shift, which placed Thanksgiving a week later might have contributed to the decrease in monthly traffic.
December year-over-year traffic fell 14.1% as consumer activity improved late in the month but didn’t salvage the season for retailers.
ShopperTrak’s NRSE reported November and December sales fell 4.3% and 4.5% respectively as compared to last year marking four consecutive months of year-over-year declines in retail sales. October sales levels fell 1.4% while September slipped 2.0% versus 2007.