Tags: shoppers | consumers | holiday | economy

Shoppers Boost Late Holiday Spending After Slow Start

Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 08:37 AM

U.S. shoppers spent 2.4 percent more during the weekend before the Christmas holiday this year, giving a boost to retailers in the final days of 2014.

Purchases during the so-called Super Saturday weekend rose to $42 billion, up from $41 billion during the same weekend a year ago, said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a research firm in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The performance on the Saturday before Christmas, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, indicates that this holiday season may fall short of early estimates that it would be the best in three years. While sales picked up in November and December, the acceleration may not be enough to make up for the slow start, Johnson said.

“This was a strong finish to an otherwise lackluster season,” he said. “It has taken what has been a sluggish season and made it merely lackluster.”

Separate estimates from the International Council of Shopping Centers showed that retailers could benefit from a last-minute shopping surge despite what the group called a “historically low” 11 percent of consumers who have yet to start buying holiday gifts. Sales in the week ended Saturday Dec. 20 rose 3.1 percent over the year-ago period, according to the ICSC and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index.

“The late shopping surge should continue all the way through Christmas Eve,” Michael Niemira, a research consultant at ICSC, said today in a statement.

Lower Gas Prices

The National Retail Federation has predicted that sales in November and December would gain 4.1 percent, the biggest increase since 2011. Holiday sales last year rose 3.1 percent as severe winter storms kept shoppers from stores late in the season.

Lower unemployment, falling gas prices and rising consumer sentiment helped spur spending last month, with Costco Wholesale Corp., L Brands Inc. and Gap Inc. posting November same-store sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates. An index of merchants tracked by Retail Metrics Inc. boosted sales 5.2 percent, topping analysts’ 3 percent average estimate.

While lower fuel prices help, overall prospects aren’t improving for most Americans, said Johnson, of Customer Growth Partners.


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U.S. shoppers spent 2.4 percent more during the weekend before the Christmas holiday this year, giving a boost to retailers in the final days of 2014.
shoppers, consumers, holiday, economy
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2014-37-23
Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 08:37 AM
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