In critical week, retail looks lackluster

Dec. 14, 2011 at 11:05 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Retail sales at U.S. chain stores fell 0.1 percent in the week ending Friday, a trade group reported.

Although receipts were up 2.9 percent compared to the same week of 2010, sales fell in the second consecutive week-to-week comparison, the International Council of Shopping Centers said.

In surveys around the country, 65.3 percent of consumers indicated they had completed their holiday shopping, compared to 64.3 percent in the same week of 2010, the trade group said.

On the flip side, consumers who indicated they had not begun to shop for the holidays fell to 15 percent, which was higher than the 12 percent a year earlier.

"Weather was not favorable in the East or for the nation as a whole," the ICSC said.

Beneficial weather for retailers at this time of year is cold weather, which encourages shopping for mittens, coats, sweaters, long johns, sleds, snow blowers, snow mobiles and a Christmas items.

Weather Trends International said average temperatures across the country were 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the same week of 2010, although they were 1.3 degrees colder than the long-term averages for the week.

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