Retailers gear up for beginning of holiday season

Sales remained relatively steady for the week ending November 22, with year-over-year sales growing by 0.1%, according to ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) survey.

Week-over-week sales for the same period were also restrained, declining by 1.4% following three consecutive weeks of growth.

Experts attributed the flat pace of sales to early holiday promotional activities, as well as unseasonably warm weather across much of the United States. This weather has slowed much of the normal demand for winter apparel that was evident last November.

“Although the consumer surveys and industry projections expect a better holiday season this year than, at least, last year and maybe the best since 1999, the jury remains out how it ultimately will go,” said Michael Niemira, lead consultant for ShopperTrak. “In recent years, retailers’ optimism has quickly turned to pessimism as the season began to unfold. Consequently, this year retailers are erring on the side of low sales expectations with the hope of a pleasant surprise.”

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.