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Holiday Shopper Traffic Tumbles 14.6% As Online Sales Miss Expectations

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / 01/08/2014 10:44 -0500

“It’s the weather’s fault.”

Prepare to hear this excuse a lot more in the coming days as one after another expectation of the “any minute now” economic rebound is missed.

In today’s instance we find that holiday retail sales, on which the punditry placed so much hope to finally show a recovering consumer, rose 2.7%, however offset by a plunge in store foot traffic, which tumbled by a whopping 14.6% according to ShopperTrak and wildly missing expectations of a 1.4% decline, a far cry from 2012’s 2.5% increase.

A big part of the drop was due to the shorter shopping period as retailers only had 25 days to encourage shoppers to spend compared to 31 days earlier, although an even bigger contributor was the pulling of holiday sales into November with early promotions starting at the earlest time in history. “Consumers took a break from shopping after Thanksgiving weekend, so retailers were pressured to offer deep discounts and promotions in the final week before Christmas to finish the holiday on a positive note,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. Naturally the weather was also blamed with a “cold snap” invoked to explain why shoppers stayed away from stores.

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