Approach of holidays brings increase in retail foot traffic, sales for week ended Dec. 8

CHICAGO — Holiday shoppers continued their quest for the perfect gifts during the week ended Dec. 8, according to ShopperTrak. Consumer activity drove a 7.8% increase in foot traffic and 6.5% increase in sales from the previous week.

Consumers, however, were not as active as they were at this time last year, with a sales decrease of 1.5% when compared to the same period in 2011. ShopperTrak predicted last week's slight lags in year-over-year foot traffic, as an extra full weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year means shoppers have more time to postpone their holiday purchases.

Week-over-week numbers improved in part due to the beginning of Hanukkah on Dec. 8. ShopperTrak expects this pattern of increasing foot traffic and sales to continue, with the week before Christmas generating the largest weekly sales volume of the year.

"Shoppers have 12 days, including two full weekends, to complete their Christmas purchases," said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. "After this week, stores and malls are going to see business picking up as droves of consumers tick off the final items of their shopping lists. The best way for retailers to translate this expected increase in retail foot traffic into more sales is to measure and manage their shopper conversion rates. This information will allow them to respond to the holiday shopper's uneven behavior and secure their bottom lines as the year draws to a close."

ShopperTrak analyzed retail foot traffic from more than 50,000 locations across 74 countries to create this National Retail Sales Estimate of general merchandise, apparel, accessories, furniture and other specialty categories.

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