A colder-than-average week translated into sales increases on both a year-on-year and sequential basis last week.
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs’ chain store sales index, sales during the week ended Saturday were up 2.2 percent over its 2013 counterpart, helped by temperatures that were, according to Weather Trends International, 5.6 degrees colder than the 2013 period and 6.5 degrees below the long-term average.
The increase over the prior week was 0.2 percent, smaller than the 1.5 percent sequential gain of the prior week. However, the 2.2 percent gain was better than the prior week’s 2.1 percent advance.
Discounters and electronics stores registered the week’s best results, according to ICSC, which also reported that, while trends in apparel stores were “weak” in comparison to those of the 2013 week, online apparel spending enjoyed its strongest week of the year as consumers got more serious about holiday purchasing.
Michael Niemira, ICSC research consultant and principal of The Retail Economist LLC, said that lower gas prices continue to provide additional incentive for holiday buying.
“Gas prices have declined by 81 cents per gallon since early July,” he said, “which I estimate has saved consumers around $90 billion of expenditure at an annual rate.”
Niemira expects November. same-store sales among firms reporting on Dec. 4 to be up between 4 and 5 percent, above the 2.1 percent gain registered for November 2013.