ShopperTrak: Retail sales flat first week of December
CHICAGO — A report released Wednesday by ShopperTrak said that sales increased just 0.2% year-over-year for the week ended Dec. 3, representing a 22.5% decline from the prior week, which held the largest Black Friday in history — both in terms of sales and traffic.
According to ShopperTrak, this sharp decline in retail sales is typical of the week following Thanksgiving. Although shoppers have an initial burst of activity spurred on by Black Friday sales promotions, they often stay home during the following week.
“After the ‘Black’ weekend promotions play out, shoppers settle back and shop online for Cyber Monday deals,” ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said. “They assess their holiday shopping lists and budgets, and over the next few weeks they will head back to stores in increasing numbers to finish shopping.”
As ShopperTrak reported earlier this month, Black Friday weekend seems to be shifting to encompass days prior to the big shopping event. Stores saw more foot-traffic before Black Friday this year, indicating consumers shopped earlier in the season and possibly contributing to the drop-off last week.
Hanukkah also started later this year than last, and Cyber Monday was the largest in its history. Both of these shifts contributed to a lackluster week in retail sales at brick-and-mortar stores.
“Our records indicate Monday through Wednesday for each of the first two weeks after Thanksgiving historically have the lowest shopper traffic of the entire shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Martin said. “These days offer the best shopping experience for holiday season shoppers who don’t like crowds but still want a good merchandise selection. There is still a lot of holiday shopping left to be done.”
U.S. consumer confidence holds at recession levels
WASHINGTON — A report released Thursday said that consumer confidence in the United States was little changed for a second week, holding at a level typically reached during past recessions.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was at -50.3 in the period ended Dec. 4, after a reading of -50.2 the prior week. The gauge has been at-50 or worse for 11 of the past 12 weeks.
An unexpected decline in unemployment last month coupled with growing payrolls may be preventing household confidence from sinking even deeper. “Consumer confidence appears to be stabilizing, albeit near historically low levels,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg L.P. in New York. “However, that stabilization is quite tenuous.”
The Bloomberg comfort index, which began in December 1985, has averaged minus 46.8 this year compared with minus 45.7 for all of 2010 and minus 47.9 in 2009, the worst full-year reading on record, the report showed.
Consumers have saved more than $35 million in fuel using Winn-Dixie Fuelperks!
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Motorists have saved more than $35 million on fuel purchases since Winn-Dixie introduced its Fuelperks! program in Panama City, Fla., three years ago, Winn-Dixie announced Thursday. Since then, the program has spread to all of Florida (except the Pensacola area), and also is available in south Georgia, part of Alabama and southeast Louisiana, where Winn-Dixie has stores.
“With an average fuel price of $3.29 per gallon, you would have nearly 1,200 tanker trucks lined up bumper to bumper for more than 13 miles. That’s what $35 million worth of fuel looks like,” Winn-Dixie’s group VP marketing Mary Kellmanson said. “That gives you an idea of the savings of Fuelperks! And that’s on top of the savings found by shopping at Winn-Dixie.”
Winn-Dixie credits its Fuelperks! program success to the Winn-Dixie’s Customer Reward Card, which has a magnetic strip on the back, similar to a debit or credit card. To redeem Fuelperks!, Winn-Dixie guests insert their Customer Reward Card at the pump of any of the more than 900 participating Shell stations and can watch the price roll back according to the amount of discounts rewards they have accumulated.
Winn-Dixie’s Fuelperks! program is an alliance with Excentus Corp., a retail marketing coalition specializing in fuel-based reward programs, and Shell.