General merchandise sales for Christmas week declined by 4.1 percent compared to 2009, according to ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate. Meanwhile, a blizzard in the Northeast region affected after holiday sales and foot traffic.
ShopperTrak attributes the slowdown of sales during Christmas week, ending Dec. 25, compared to last year, was due to the 2010 calendar shift, which placed Dec. 26 on a Sunday as opposed to a Saturday last year. In 2009, Dec. 26 was counted in the Christmas week performance.
“It seems the calendar was a bit unkind to retailers this year as the 2009 comparison week is particularly strong a critical day in the season fell on a Sunday, which created some unique challenges,” says Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak. “In some location retailers didn’t have the ability to extend store hours on a Sunday due to various regulations, so there was a shorter window to move merchandise that day. Additionally, the beginning of some inclement weather in the Midwest, Northeast and South regions last week most likely influenced retailer’s level as well.”
On Dec. 26 and 27, inclement weather affected foot traffic with an 11.2 percent decline nationwide and 13.9 percent decline nationwide, respectively.