Retailers Eked Out Holiday Sales Gains After All
Life + Money

Retailers Eked Out Holiday Sales Gains After All


Despite fewer shoppers and a shortened shopping season, brick-and-mortar retailers still managed to increase holiday sales by 2.6 percent in 2013 to $265.9 billion, compared to 2012.

Those sales gain came even as foot traffic in November and December fell 14.6 percent, compared to the same period in 2012, according to ShopperTrak, a retail analytics firm. In 2013, there were only 25 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas, six fewer than in 2012.

“Consumers took a break from shopping after Thanksgiving weekend, so retailers were pressured to offer deep discounts and promotions in the final weeks before Christmas to finish the holiday on a positive note,” ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said in a statement. “In the future, retailers who promote throughout the season will be more successful than those who take a hiatus in the week or two after Thanksgiving.”

Related: This Is the New Normal for Holiday Shopping

With more stores opening for longer hours on Thanksgiving, Black Friday sales fell 13 percent, compared to 2012, although Black Friday was still the biggest day of the season for both sales and traffic. That’s because more consumers were shopping online or taking advantage of sales offered earlier in November. Severe weather conditions in many regions also negatively impacted foot traffic during the first two weekends in December. 

The strongest sales categories were apparel and electronics, where sales increased 3.5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively. The western region of the country had the strongest sales increase (5.1 percent), while sales remained relatively flat in the Midwest.

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