"Chain store sales finished the “first phase” of the holiday shopping season (the pre-Christmas Day part) with a very mixed performance. There were pockets of strength, pockets of weakness, shifts in where spending occurred (online/in-store), shifts in the shares of spending on gift certificates/merchandise, a heavily discounted season (though largely planned), late consumer shopping, warm weather bouts paring seasonal demand and calendar issues affecting perceptions of strength."
Bill King notes "this amounts to an sales increase (pre-Christmas ) of just 1.7% y/y. This is far less than the 22.5% espoused by ShopperTrak."
"Although there is still one more week left in the December reporting period, comp-store sales for the five-week fiscal month of December—which will be reported on January 4, 2007—appear on-track for the low-end of our monthly range (2.5-3.5%) and as a result on the low-end of our range (2.5-3.0%) for the two-month November-December season . . .
Chain store sales rose by 2.5% in November, based on ICSC’s tally of 59 retail chains, and are expected to grow by about the same pace in December."
The one bright spot remains gift cards/post holiday shopping:
"With nearly one-in-five (18%) consumers who said they planned to shop on the day after Christmas (which was not significantly different from the 19% reporting that they shopped on December 26, 2005 when it was a federal holiday), the last week of the fiscal month might exceed modest expectations as consumers redeem those holiday gift cards and shop for the bargains on clearance."
YMMV . . .
Latest Week’s Sales Snapshot ICSC-UBS Weekly
International Council of Shopping Centers,
ICSC, December 27, 2006, 7:45 AM (ET)