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ShopperTrak: Holiday Season Saw 2.5% Traffic, Sales Gains

Store traffic monitor ShopperTrak has announced that the holiday shopping season of November and December 2012 produced a national retail sales increase of 2.5%. Foot traffic also increased 2.5% when compared to the final two months of 2011, the market research firm stated.

ShopperTrak’s initial data indicated that shopper spending reached $248.8 billion during this period.

The 2012 holidays represented the third consecutive season that enjoyed positive total retail sales, ShopperTrak noted. It also was the second holiday season of the past three that when foot traffic got a boost from positive foot traffic changes.

“Our data indicates that more people visited more stores this holiday season than the previous year,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Retailers who understood their foot traffic were able to staff, stock and market to best serve their customers, ultimately converting more of the browsers into buyers.”

A has been noted, the 2012 holiday season had the longest interval possible between Black Friday and Christmas, so, with 32 days, consumers had an extra weekend of holiday shopping. As a result, many procrastinated in finishing their holiday purchasing. In the end, last-minute shopping and post-Christmas exchanges became the driving force in securing retail sales and foot traffic advances for the season. For the week ending December 29, ShopperTrak stated, sales increased 18% and traffic increased 14.4% compared to the same period a year earlier. The gains represent the largest year-over-year increase of the holiday season, the market research firm pointed out.

“Heavy discounting by retailers at the end of December led to increases in shopper activity across the board,” said Martin.

ShopperTrak estimates that three of the holiday season’s busiest foot traffic days occurred in late December. Although Black Friday, November 23 retained the top spot and Saturday, November 24 came in as the fifth-busiest traffic day, ShopperTrak reported that Super Saturday, December 22 was the second-busiest shopping day of the season, followed by Saturday, December 15 in third and Sunday, December 23 ranking fourth.

As for sales, ShopperTrak pointed out that Black Friday led, followed in order by Super Saturday, then December 23, December 21 and December 15.

“The presidential election and Hurricane Sandy drew consumers’ attention away from shopping at the outset of the holiday retail season,” said Martin. “However, lower unemployment, higher consumer confidence and stable gas prices positively influenced shoppers to make purchases this holiday season.”