By  on January 5, 2012

Like Thanksgiving before it, Christmas had an initially energetic aftermath at retail followed by a palpable lull.

The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs reported in their index of weekly results that sales for the seven days beginning on Christmas and concluding Dec. 31 rose 5.3 percent over the comparable week of 2010, the best year-over-year comparison since the week ended July 11, 2010. Even measured against the prior week and the mad scramble leading up to Christmas, sales were up 1.2 percent.

“Gift card redemption, mild weather and the fact that Monday, Dec. 26, was a federal holiday spurred shopper traffic as slightly more than a quarter of consumers reported that they were shopping on that Monday,” said Michael Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC.

Niemira told WWD that he’ll be paying close attention to what retailers have to say about gift card activity when they report same-store sales results for December today. His expectation is that comparable-store sales will be up between 4 and 4.5 percent, with about 0.5 percent attributable to fuel sales. ICSC continues to expect holiday sales to be up 3.5 percent, including fuel.

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