Around the Net

Holiday Sales Hit Slump, Up Just 6.6%

A seemingly insatiable demand for all things electronic--including high-definition TV sets and Nintendo hot Wii game console--weren't enough to offset the lackluster sales of cold weather apparel, jewelry and other items this holiday season. Spending between Thanksgiving and Christmas rose a disappointing 6.6% over last year, according to SpendingPulse, a retail-sales data service from MasterCard International's MasterCard Advisors Unit. Last holiday, sales climbed 8.7%.

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.



Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) »

Next story loading loading..