CHICAGO — Boosted by a very weak comparison period, ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate reported that total GAFO retail sales for the last Saturday before Christmas (Dec. 18), or "Super Saturday," increased a sharp 15.1%, compared with last year, while the company’s retail traffic index reported a similar 10.1% total U.S. foot traffic uptick for the same period.
While Saturday sales and traffic seemed to dramatically increase, after blizzard on the Eastern seaboard significantly slowed spending in parts of the South and in much of the Northeast last year, according to ShopperTrak.
“The year-over-year increases were dramatic but obviously slanted as shopping activity was essentially crippled in the Northeast last year,” said Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak. “That said, we shouldn’t discard the day as $7.58 billion spent is steady and compares admirably [with] $7.87 billion spent on Super Saturday 2008 when there was no blizzard.” Martin continued, “At this point we anticipate Super Saturday will represent the second largest traffic day and third largest sales day this holiday shopping season.”
ShopperTrak reported Black Friday sales totaled $10.69 billion, which most will likely finish as the No. 1 sales and traffic day for the fifth year in a row. The company also anticipated procrastinating shoppers will flood various retail locations on Dec. 23, bumping the day just above Super Saturday as the number two performing sales day this holiday shopping season. Dec. 23, 2009, also finished No. 2 ahead of Super Saturday.
“The week leading into Christmas is hugely important for retailers as five of the top performing sales days are expected to fall during this period,” Martin said. “Looking back a bit further, the ten days prior to Christmas typically account for anywhere from 31 to 34% of total retail sales for the entire season which makes this a pressure filled few days for retailers.” Martin continued, “Annually we see Black Friday weekend’s strong start as one bookend to the season and the week leading into Christmas as the other. Winning retailers know this pattern well and will have the strategies in place to attract foot traffic and ultimately move sales levels into the black over these upcoming critical days.”
Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department's GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.