Holiday Sales Hit Slump, Up Just 6.6%
Shoppers did come out in full force this past weekend; they just didn't spend as much as last year. Saturday, followed by Friday, were the two strongest shopping days of the year, but spending was still "very soft compared to last year," says Wayne Best, senior vice president of business and economic analysis for Visa USA.
Retailers still hope for robust sales this coming week, as a number of stores--including Brooks Brothers and Bloomingdale's--dramatically mark down pre-Christmas merchandise. Many stores are putting out fresh spring products hoping to sell them at full price to shoppers brandishing gift cards. Sales of gift cards are expected to total $25 billion this holiday, $6 billion more than last year.