A happy holiday: Sales top ShopperTrak forecast


After a string of retailers reported same-store sales figures that were generally better than expected on Thursday, further evidence of a jolly holiday season was released on Friday.

According to ShopperTrak, holiday sales increased 4.6 percent compared to 2013, outperforming the analytics firm's forecast for 3.8 percent growth.

"As expected, the Thanksgiving weekend brought in big numbers," ShopperTrak said in a news release. "Despite a short lag after the Thanksgiving weekend, December began to heat up just ahead of Hanukkah and carried through to the days after Christmas."

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ShopperTrak compiles its data from retailers' sales logs, though it doesn't account for online sales. It works with more than 1,000 retailers, malls and entertainment venues.

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The firm said that one of the big takeaways from 2014 is that the holidays are becoming less dependent on a single day. Although Super Saturday and Black Friday ranked as the top two sales days of the period—raking in $9.2 billion and $9.1 billion, respectively—the former only posted muted growth. Black Friday sales fell more than 7 percent on the year, ShopperTrak said.

"Consumers seem less attracted to the value-based pricing associated with the two days and are responding more to the sales and promotions available throughout the season," according to ShopperTrak. "This indicates that there is still a significant strength and resilience in the consumer."

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Earlier this week, comScore said that online spending from desktop computers topped its "fairly optimistic" expectations for the holidays, pulling in a total of $53.3 billion for November and December.

The National Retail Federation will release its final sales data on Wednesday. It's calling for sales growth of 4.1 percent.