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ShopperTrak Predicts Slight Increase in Christmas Retail Sales

Foot Traffic to Drop

Sep 23, 2011 11:00 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... According to ShopperTrak, a provider of retail data on foot traffic, U.S. retail sales for the Christmas season 2011 could increase by as much as 3 percent year on year.  However, ShopperTrak expects fewer shoppers will be visiting retailers in person with a projected  foot traffic decrease of 2.2 percent. By way of comparison, the group concluded that 2010 Christmas season retail sales rose by 4.1 percent. (Learn moreIs your ecommerce channel ready? and Is your retail store ready?)

''The persistently high unemployment and fuel rates along with consumers’ conservative purchasing attitudes will affect spending this holiday season more than in recent years,'' said ShopperTrak's co-founder, Bill Martin. ''Every shopper in a store will be more valuable than last year, and retail stores should be ready to convert their holiday shoppers into sales.''

While ShopperTrak doesn't break out sales projections by detailed category, the group expects a 2.7 percent year-on-year increase in sales for apparel and accessories, which would include the jewelry segment. U.S. consumers are increasingly sensitive to value with lower-end apparel and accessories specialty stores coming under greater pressure  to reduce prices in order to compete with discount chains, according to the report. Higher-end stores, however, may have an advantage this season as shoppers seek quality purchases offering perceived value and longevity of use.

Value-conscious consumers are also increasingly using the Internet to stretch their dollars by shopping at online outlets with potential for deep discounts or researching premium-priced, large purchases. As a result, when consumers do walk into stores, they have a purchasing strategy and are less likely to browse. This will account for significant foot-traffic losses this holiday season, according to ShopperTrak.

''As the economy continues to struggle, tracking daily foot traffic and understanding store traffic patterns is more important than ever,'' added Martin. ''Retailers who pay close attention to their browser to buyer conversion rates and adjust their product offerings, store layouts and staff scheduling to improve those rates will be the most successful this year.''

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Tags: christmas, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, projections, retail, sales, shoppertrak
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