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Christmas 2009 retail sales up almost 9 percent

Jan. 20, 2010

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Overall, Christmas 2009 retail sales were up almost 9 percent during the week that included Dec. 24, although foot traffic was down slightly, according to an industry group report issued today.

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Four of the season's top seven days of traffic were during the week ended Dec. 26, sales and online traffic tracking firm ShopperTrak reports.

ShopperTrak bases its results on a sample of about 49,650 retail stores and enclosed malls in the U.S.

The week followed a disappointing Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 19, that saw the major cities in the Northeast socked by a devastating snowstorm that broke a 1954 record.

Holiday shoppers bought even more on boxing day than they did during the week leading up to Christmas, the report revealed.

Overall spending totaled almost $8 billion on boxing day, up from about $7.8 billion in 2008, making it the second best shopping day of the holiday season. Overall foot traffic was up about 7.8 percent compared with the previous Saturday, a decrease of about 6.7 percent from the same day in 2008.

"Pent-up demand following the snowstorm on Super Saturday (Dec. 19) pushed consumers to spend heavily," said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak.

Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, was the best performing day of the season, with sales of $10.7 billion, according to ShopperTrak. Dec. 19, the Saturday before Christmas, ranked third with sales of $6.9 billion. And Dec. 23, a Wednesday, was fourth on the list.

"On Boxing Day, we actually had some deals out there that were not there before Christmas," said Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group. "A lot of people just didn't get the deals they wanted before Christmas and were waiting for the big 50 to 75 percent discount off deals the day after."

The sales increases came despite a 1 percent year-over-year drop in foot traffic.

Also making the list of the top seven shopping days of the season were two other days during Christmas week: Monday, Dec. 21, and Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Based on these positive retail sales results, ShopperTrak said it's on target to meet its prediction for November and December 2009 of an approximate 1.6 percent rise in sales.

Source: eCommerce Predictions.

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