By  on December 29, 2011

Only a strong finish in the days leading up to and following Christmas has placed U.S. retailers on the verge of smashing the old record for holiday sales, which has stood for four years as the American economy has stumbled, declined and attempted to recover.

If the current estimate of a 3.8 percent increase in general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other categories, or GAFO, sales projected by the International Council of Shopping Centers is realized, as appears increasingly likely, U.S. holiday revenues would hit $252.3 billion, $600 million higher than the $251.7 billion reached in 2007, when holiday sales were up 1.6 percent. Since then, holiday sales have fallen 6.1 percent in 2008, to $236.3 billion, and dropped another 1.3 percent in 2009, to $233.4 billion, before moving back into positive but still subpeak territory with 4.1 percent growth last year to $242.9 billion, $8.8 billion below their historic high.


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