Colton Coots pushes a cart of toys out of the layaway department at Kmart in Jonesboro, Ark.(Photo: Tami Wynn, AP)
After more than a week of retailers' biggest sales of the year, shoppers are pulling back.
is usual, retail sales declined the first week after the week of Black
Friday. Sales fell 3.1% for the week ended Dec. 1, according to a report
Tuesday from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman
Sachs. The report represents about 40 major retail chains.
typically enter a lull period after Thanksgiving and this year appears
to be no different," Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research
and chief economist, said in a statement.
Niemira says he expects
shoppers will return to stores throughout December, overall, retail
sales are still up compared to the same period a year ago.
not true of online sales, which dipped sharply the week ended Dec. 1.
For Dec. 1 and Dec. 2, online sales declined more than 17% vs. the same
two days last year, according to Chase Holiday Pulse, which provides
daily updates on sales and transaction volume for 50 top e-retailers.
mostly due to buying fatigue and the shift toward shopping earlier the
week of Thanksgiving this year," says Shaun Abraham, director of
strategic initiatives for Chase Paymentech.
"I don't think it's
an anomaly that you see this drop," he says. "It's just a natural flow.
You'll see this uptake happen as we get closer to next week and the
However, the American Express Saving and
Spending Tracker says more people have started and finished their
shopping this year than at the same point last year. Of 1,500 consumers
surveyed between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2, 68% said they had started holiday
shopping, up three percentage points from 65% a year ago. And 14% of
those polled said they have finished their holiday shopping, up five
percentage points from 9% last year.
"Consumers as a whole have
less to buy at this point than they did last year," says Melanie Backs,
an American Express spokeswoman. Still, "most aren't finished shopping
for their gift list, so there's plenty more shopping to be done."
the 86% who have started but not finished their shopping, the American
Express data show 41% say they're about a quarter done, 22% say they are
halfway finished, and 23% say they are 75% there.