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Report from ShopperTrak sees holiday retail sales rise 4.5 percent


CHICAGO ShopperTrak RCT’s National Retail Sales Estimate today reported that retail sales for the November-December 2007 holiday season increased by a better-than-expected 4.5 percent as compared to last year, surpassing both the company’s 3.6 percent holiday season forecast and predictions of gloom by industry experts.

The report has Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving—once again leading the way with $10.3 billion spent, followed closely by $9.36 billion spent the last Saturday before Christmas. Dec. 15, Dec.21 and Dec. 23 rounded out the top five retail sales days of 2007.

Total U.S. foot traffic for the 2007 holiday season slipped 2.7 percent, pointing to consumers visiting retail locations less but spending more on each visit. On a monthly basis, however, November posted a 5.8 percent rise, which was countered by December traffic falling 4.7 percent as compared to the same period in 2006.

“The holiday 2007 retail sales performance overwhelmingly proves the U.S. consumer is resilient,” noted Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak. “Based on stagnant traffic and various economic concerns retailers were understandably a bit nervous heading into the season, but the strength of Black Friday weekend added to the shopping surge experienced on Super Saturday helped sales exceed our expectations.”

In addition, sales and traffic for the week ending January 5, 2008 rose a healthy 15.5 and 10.1 percent, respectively, as compared to last year, bolstering predictions of increased sales from gift cards following the holiday. Retailers do not count the card sales at the time of purchase, but rather, at the time of redemption.

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the Commerce Department’s statistics on general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry intelligence on shopper traffic and sales statistics.

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