Last Week of Christmas Sales Down 1.8%

Sales at malls and shopping centers for the week ending Dec. 27 declined 1.8 percent year-over-year, while the week-over-week pace of sales fell by 1.5 percent, due primarily to winter weather and heavy discounting of merchandise, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

“The 2008 recession, widespread heavy discounting and adverse pre-holiday weather all coalesced to produce the weakest holiday season since at least 1970,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research. “Although there is another week in the fiscal month, December’s sales are unlikely to get much help from the post-Christmas shopping.”

ICSC expects December same-store sales will decline by at least 1 percent “with only a few bright spots amid double-digit declines among a broad swath of the industry,” Niemira added.

The U.S. Retail Chain Store Sales Index is produced by ICSC. The index measures nominal same-store or comparable-store sales excluding restaurant and vehicle demand.