The holiday retail season is over, and the results are in.
The summary: November-December is being considered a solid, but not stellar season for retailers. While sales were up from the last few years, winter storms and a still hesitant consumer tempered overall sales goals.
Thomson Reuters says that major chain stores posted a 3.1% year-over-year sales increase in December, which was slightly below the 3.4% gain that analysts had expected.
That said, sales rose 4.4% during the two-month holiday season, making it the strongest in four years.
"We have recovered from the recession," said Michael Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers. "I'm also optimistic that the underlying storyline for consumer fundamentals will improve this year. That means stronger job growth, more income growth."
Upscale department stores showed nice increases, with Saks reporting an 11.8% and Nordstrom ringing in an 8.4% rise. Even Abercrombie & Fitch who has been hit hard by the recession reported a 15% increase.
However, more Middle-America brands like American Eagle Outfitters posted an 11% sales decline. Aeropostale saw sales fall 5% and Gap reported a 3% drop.
Source: The Los Angeles Times