By  on November 15, 2007

Despite a decline in retail store traffic, ShopperTrak RCT predicts moderate gains in sales this holiday season.

According to the company's National Retail Sales Estimate, holiday sales are expected to rise 3.6 percent from last year. ShopperTrak Retail Traffic Index forecasts a 2.5 percent drop in total U.S. foot traffic.

ShopperTrak's sales forecast, though positive, falls short of last year's 4.8 percent increase.

"In terms of traffic, 2007 has been a rather slow year for retailers and with rising gasoline prices and consumer confidence continuing to lag behind last year's levels, we don't see this trend changing during the holidays," said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, in a statement.

But while shoppers may go to the mall less often, their trips will be longer and they will spend more money during the visits.

With 32 calendar days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, ShopperTrak expects early shoppers to boost Black Friday sales and procrastinating shoppers to drive purchases the weekend before Christmas.

"As always, even with steady declines in retail traffic throughout 2007, the consumer has remained resilient and continued to spend helping boost retail sales throughout the year — and we expect this trend to continue this holiday season," Martin said.

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