Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Chain store sales up in last week before Christmas

December 29, 2009

MALLCheck out the latest batch of upbeat news for U.S. retailers.

The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday that sales at 75 U.S. retail chain stores  rose 0.4 percent in the final shopping week before Christmas compared to the week before, the most recent sign that consumer spending is perking up,  or has at least stopped bleeding.

UPDATE: On a year over year basis, the increase was 2.3 percent in the week ended of Dec. 26.

On Monday, SpendingPulse, a unit of MasterCard Advisors,  said sales had risen 3.6 percent this holiday season compared to last year, or about 1 percent after factoring in this year’s longer holiday season. SpendingPulse found that sales in some sectors, such as women’s apparel and jewelry, had picked up speed in the last week before Christmas.

The ICSC and SpendingPulse results contrast with the National Retail Federation’s more pessimistic forecast of  a 1 percent drop in shopping this holiday season, but either way it’s clear that 2009 will turn out to be merrier than the cataclysmic 2008 shopping season.

The NRF plans to issue its own holiday season tally, based on government data, on January 14.

(PHOTO: Reuters)

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