Foot Traffic Flat, Sales Up 11.6%

Foot traffic at U.S. malls and shopping centers for the week ending Jan. 3 was flat, year-over-year, while retail sales grew 11.6 percent for the same period, according to ShopperTrak.

On a weekly level, traffic declined significantly, returning to more seasonal levels following the annually strong Christmas week shopping rush, according to ShopperTrak’s Retail Traffic Index, which measures foot traffic at shopping centers and malls. Traffic for the week ending Jan. 3 as compared to the previous week ending Dec. 27 fell 26.3 percent.

Also on a weekly level, ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate reported that sales for the week ending Jan. 3, compared to the previous week ending Dec. 27, fell 34.2 percent.

“The 2008 calendar shift provided a boost to both traffic and sales levels last week as more consumers were able to take the week off and shop in the days leading up to New Year’s,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak. “The sharp week-over-week declines are more indicative of what we typically see this time of year and we anticipate that even with continued gift card redemptions these slow levels will continue over the next couple of weeks.”

ShopperTrak’s holiday season forecast has been adjusted to a 2.4 percent retail sales decline with a 15 percent traffic decline. Initially, the company predicated a 0.1 percent retail sales increase with a 9.9 percent dip in total U.S. foot traffic.