The Final Tally On Holiday Retail Sales

While the millions of holiday shoppers may have had their own individual wishes for gifts, retailers were more or less in agreement about what they wanted: higher sales. However, it’s looking like only a select few brands got what they wanted for Christmas.

The Wall Street Journal reported that First Data Corp.’s information puts retail sales up 3.3 percent for the period beginning Oct. 31 and ending Jan. 4. The sales data and credit card records from more than 1.3 million retailers were monitored to produce the analysis, though all of those merchants were hardly sharing the wealth in any kind of equitable fashion.

In fact, Macy’s in particular was one of those brands that experienced a downturn in sales as the holiday shopping season drew on. In November and December alone, Macy’s sales decreased by 4.7 percent, and Gap’s sales dipped by 5 percent in the latter month.

Which brands saw slightly more promising sales numbers to close out the year? While catch-all department store merchants struggled to capture consumers’ attention spans and dollars, specialty brands performed well above expectations when it came to same-store sales during the holiday season. WSJ noted that Victoria’s Secret, The Children’s Place and Bath & Body Works all experienced at least 6 percent growth in same-store sales, with the lingerie retailer’s numbers climbing all the way to 8 percent.

While some lucky retailers might be counting their blessings (and their balance sheets) as the holiday season draws to a close, Paul Lejuez, a retail analyst for Citi, told WSJ that even well-performing brands need to infuse a bit of experiential retail into their in-store processes or risk boring their customers out of the store.

“The consumer is spending, but the question is: What are they spending on?” Lejuez said. “They want newness, and they are finding it in technology and experiences. They are going to see ‘Star Wars’ and going out to eat.”


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