Holiday Traffic, Sales Down at Retail Centers

Foot traffic at U.S. malls and shopping centers fell 17.9 percent year-over-year for the week ending Dec. 13, according to ShopperTrak. Meanwhile, retail sales declined 0.3 percent for the same period.

While total U.S. foot traffic showed a sharp year-over-year decline despite continued deep discounts to attract shoppers, week-over-week traffic posted a dramatic increase as both the Chanukah and Christmas holidays approach, according to ShopperTrak’s retail traffic index, which measures foot traffic at more than 50,000 retail and enclosed mall locations in the U.S. Traffic for the week ending Dec. 13 as compared to the previous week ending Dec. 6 rose a healthy 16 percent.

Sales for the week ending December 13 as compared to the previous week ending Dec. 6 rose 18 percent, according to ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate, which uses GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) data and proprietary sales statistics and shopper movement.

“The upcoming weekend contains Super Saturday which ShopperTrak expects to be the number two performing day this holiday shopping season – just behind Black Friday,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, based in Chicag. “Because of this, procrastinating shoppers should have a wide array of good deals as retailers have extended sales and promotions to encourage folks to buy during this critical final weekend leading up to both Christmas and Chanukah.”

ShopperTrak says that the final weekend before Christmas typically accounts for approximately 11.5 percent of holiday sales, with Super Saturday representing 4.5 percent of that figure. In 2007, Super Saturday represented $8.7 billion in GAFO retail sales, up 1 percent from the same day in 2006.