Make us your home page
Instagram

Holiday season retail sales up 3.8 percent

Retail sales softened in December, leaving merchants with a decent but hardly rock-solid 3.8 percent sales gain for the two-month holiday shopping season.

Retailers who rolled out the discounts early this time prevailed, before blizzards across the Midwest and Northeast around Christmas Day made shut-ins of some shoppers who would have been out spending all those holiday gift cards.

"In Florida, business is gradually getting better, but it was still pretty difficult," said Steve Knopik, chief executive of Beall's Inc., a Bradenton chain with 80 department stores that posted flat sales and 460 outlet stores that saw a percentage gain in the mid single digits. "The worst of it appears to be behind us, but we still need higher employment, a stable housing market and people migrating here again."

"We're up and, given the Florida economy, pretty happy," said Jay Botsch, manager of West­Shore Plaza in Tampa.

Nationally, December sales rose 3.1 percent in stores open more than a year, a barometer of consumer spending, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers index based on 32 of the largest chains. That pulled down November's stronger results, which were bolstered by a discount-driven Black Friday that ended up the biggest sales day of the year.

"It's clear that November's great deals robbed spending in December when shoppers were partial to spending online, perhaps encouraged by bad weather late in the month," said Frank Badillo, a senior economist at research firm Kantar Retail.

The holidays are a big deal to many retailers. The two months account for half of all toy and a third of all apparel, accessories and jewelry sold all year. Some economic changes:

• Department stores and luxury retailers, which lost ground to discount stores in the recession, made a comeback. In December Dillard's sales rose 6.2 percent, Kohl's 5.9 percent, Nordstrom 11.2 percent, Neiman Marcus 4.8 percent and Saks Fifth Avenue 9.7 percent.

• Flat to down were American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, Hot Topic and Target.

• Bookstores suffered 10 percent traffic declines as more business shifted online or to digital readers such as Kindle and Nook.

• Amazon.com was the only big retailer to show a "significant increase" in gift shoppers compared with last year, according to Kantar. Its Shopperscape survey found 42 percent of all gift shoppers looked for gifts there, up from 38 percent a year ago. Toys "R" Us and Target were the only other companies among 34 types of retailers measured to post a positive gain in gift buying traffic.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com.

Holiday season retail sales up 3.8 percent 01/06/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 9:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Irish 31 brings flair, flavor to Wiregrass

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery opened its fifth location at The Shops at Wiregrass earlier this month.

    hillsevbiz072117: Irish 31 has opened at the Shops at Wiregrass with a warm, wood decor. Photo courtesy of Irish 31.
  2. Family fun featured at Lutz-area ice cream shop

    Business

    LUTZ — For Joe Schembri, ice cream reminds him of fun times he spent with his family as a child.

    hillsevbiz072117: Joe Schembri has opened the Ice Dreamery in Lutz. Photo courtesy of Joe Schembri.
  3. Clean Eatz offers low-cal options in South Tampa

    Business

    Inside Clean Eatz, almost everything is under 500 calories.

    Clean Eatz will offer healthy dining options in South Tampa. Photo courtesy of Clean Eatz.
  4. Salon brings a Parisian experience to Tampa

    Business

    A new salon in International Plaza, opened by French women Geraldine Jousseau and Estelle Mattingly, takes clients on a trip to Paris.

    Le Studio Paris offers a variety of salon services in International Plaza. Photo courtesy of Le Studio Paris.
  5. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube

    Retail

    TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

    Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]