Holiday retail pace accelerates

U.S. consumers stepped up their spending during the week ending Dec. 13, ShopperTrak reported in its National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE). Week-over-week sales jumped by an impressive 17% from the week ending Dec. 6, marking the second straight week of strong sales in this category.

ShopperTrak also reported that year-over-year sales recovered nicely from last week’s weather-induced decline, gaining 3.9% from the same week in 2002.

“With the number of shopping days before Christmas becoming fewer and fewer, the pace of sales is really starting to gain a strong head of steam,” said Michael Niemira, lead consultant for ShopperTrak. “Also lending credence to retailers’ optimism is that we are already seeing the pace of sales accelerate with the biggest shopping day of the season (normally the Saturday before Christmas) still five days away.”

ShopperTrak also stated that while the capture of former Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein may be good for consumer optimism, it is doubtful that it will have a significant impact on actual sales.

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.