As the inexorable movement to online shopping continues, malls are taking it on the chin, especially as evidenced by the holiday shopping season.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the last few days before Christmas saw a boost in Web ordering, as shoppers strained delivery services and also managed to bring retailers into much deeper discounting than had been seen among eCommerce companies.
Research firm RetailNext reported that sales at brick-and-mortar stores slid as much as 6.7 percent over the weekend before Christmas, while traffic itself was down more than 10 percent. That is worse than the respective declines of roughly 6 percent and 8 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 14.
In reference to strained resources, WSJ reported that some retailers, such as Eddie Bauer, saw delays in holiday package delivery. That was tied to what had been identified as delivery problems through FedEx. UPS, for its part, said deliveries were running at 98 percent on time. Yet, both delivery services were in the midst of capping some volume limits on certain retailers.
Even as the deliveries are constrained, the discounting continues, as stores led into Christmas with consecutive days of continuous operation. The weather hasn’t helped matters, with unseasonably warm weather putting a lid on traditional winter wear. The influx of tourists, traditionally a reliable source of retail spending at malls, has been hampered by the continued strong dollar. As has been reported, Gap’s Old Navy imprint was flogging 75 percent discounts storewide through Dec. 28.
Conversely, eCommerce sales were up roughly 12 percent for the period lasting from Nov. 26 through Dec. 20 from a year ago, and some researchers said the eCommerce segment was as much as 14 percent of total retail spending during the months of November and December, noted ChannelAdviser Corp.