New York City -- ShopperTrak reported Monday that national retail sales, when compared with the same period last year, rose 3.5% during November and December, while foot traffic decreased 3.1%.
“We know stores saw less foot-traffic and increases in sales during the holiday season, indicating consumers were focused and took fewer trips,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “Retailers who tracked their foot-traffic daily better understood and predicted shopper trends and made the most of every opportunity that walked through their doors with appropriate inventory and staffing adjustments.”
Throughout the holiday season, ShopperTrak has estimated that consumers spent $251.4 billion dollars in GAFO retail sales. Sales rose 3.5% over 2010, but slightly lower than ShopperTrak’s forecast of a 3.7% increase.
The season started with four straight weeks of year-over-year sales gains in November, with Thanksgiving week having the largest year-over-year sales gain for the month — a 4.4% increase over the same period last year and $134.2 billion spent. Sales lagged in early December, as shoppers assessed their budgets after “Black Weekend.”
ShopperTrak said it also attributes December’s slow start to Hanukkah falling later in the month this year than it did in 2010, negatively affecting retail sales early on. Sales surged late in the season, however. The week before Christmas saw the season’s largest year-over-year sales gain of 14.4%, $193.7 billion spent and six of the season’s top 10 sales days occurred in the eight days prior to Christmas.
While shoppers bought more, they browsed less according to ShopperTrak. In-store foot-traffic decreased 3.1% for the 2011 holiday season over the same period last year. According to ShopperTrak, foot-traffic suffered year-over-year decreases in all but two weeks from Nov. 5 through Jan. 7. Gas prices rose 13% over the average fuel prices in the 2010 holiday season, which may account for some foot-traffic loss.