Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Mixed Sales News

December 26, 2008

Check Out mixed news on the retail sales front.

Retailers are now out to lure consumers with after-Christmas deals as data show this year’s BRITAIN-SALES/VIEWholiday season was one of the weakest in decades.

The retail data service of MasterCard Advisors said U.S. retail sales fell as much as 4 percent during the holiday season. SpendingPulse tracks sales activity in the MasterCard payments network and couples that with estimates for other payment forms.

It found that luxury sector sales fell 34.5 percent, as job losses and stock market declines weighed on higher-end shoppers. Specialty electronics and appliance sales were off 26.7 percent.

But the news wasn’t all bad. Online retailer Amazon.com said this year’s holiday sales season was its best yet, with more than 6.3 million items ordered on its site on the peak shopping day of Dec. 15. Online sales were likely aided by winter weather in some parts of the United States.

Retail shares even turned higher on Friday — perhaps investors are more confident that it can’t get much worse?

Also in the basket:

Wal-Mart to sell 3G iPhone

Jones Apparel reduces lines of credit

British shoppers hunt for post-Christmas deals

(Photo: Reuters)

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