Holiday Chain Store Sales Fall 2.2%

U.S. chain store sales for December 2008 fell by 1.7 percent on a year-over-year same-store basis, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. November-December holiday sales fell 2.2 percent compared to the 2007 season.

“This was an extraordinarily difficult holiday season,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC chief economist and director of research. “Retailers were forced to slash prices to entice consumers to spend,” he said. “But even that strategy was not enough as the elevated worry about job insecurity and increased job layoff announcements continued to restrain consumers’ willingness and ability to spend.”

ICSC Chain Store Sales Trends is a monthly report on the U.S. retail industry’s sales performance based on an ICSC preliminary compilation of publicly-available sales for 36 chain stores during the month of December.