U.S. Christmas shoppers wrapped up their gift buying on December 24, leaving retailers with a 4.5 percent year on year increase in sales, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs. Weekly retail sales at chain-stores were essentially flat against the previous week, rising a mere 0.9 percent.
”As expected, holiday shopping went down to the wire as consumers took advantage of the full shopping week ahead of Christmas Day, which fell on a Sunday this year,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s vice president of research and chief economist. ”Overall this holiday season appears to have been a positive one for retailers, though there were some pockets of weakness. Looking ahead, the ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer tracking survey suggests that consumer gift-card expenditures were higher than in recent years, which suggests gift-card redemption in the coming weeks could be stronger than in recent years too.”
ICSC expects chain-store sales for December to reveal an increase of 3.5 percent to 4 percent year on year.