SpendingPulse is a data service provided by MasterCard Advisors that estimates U.S. retail sales across all payment forms including cash and checks.
From Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving known as "Black Friday," through Dec. 6, luxury sales dropped 34.5 percent compared to the same period last year, while overall apparel sales fell 22.9 percent. Electronic sales fell 22.3 percent.
Online sales last week fell 1 percent to $3.81 billion from the same week last year, according to research company comScore, which called the drop "marginal."
From Cyber Monday on Dec. 1, which marked the kickoff to the online holiday shopping season, through Friday, sales were up 3 percent to $8.26 billion from last year, the firm said Sunday.
Tuesday marked the heaviest online spending day on record with $887 million in sales, comScore said, adding that it expects online retailers to continue offering discounts on products and expedited shipping to spur sales.
It noted apparel and accessories sales were up 21 percent in the first 12 days of December, while books and magazine sales rose 18 percent.
Same-store sales are expected to be down as much as 1 percent in November and December, according to Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers.
If that holds true, it would mark the weakest season since at least 1969 when the index of same-store sales began being calculated.
Same-store sales are sales at stores opened at least a year and are considered a key indicator of a retailer's health. Slumping sales are weighing on retailers.
Last week they forced retailer KB Toys to file for bankruptcy protection for the second time in four years. The 86-year-old company plans to begin going-out-of business sales at its stores immediately.
With spending expected down, stores have been stepping up their discounts to try to capture whatever money consumers decide to part with.
Toys R Us Chief Executive Jerry Storch said the retailer expects business to pick up since people put off their shopping this year, not just because of the economy but because Christmas falls on a Thursday.
They're also waiting for deals, he said, and the company is boosting its discounts.
Ads this weekend announced "Savings of a Lifetime" he said, such as electric race car sets for $24.99, half off the original price.
"I do believe customers have been taught to wait and this is it," he said. "The waiting is over. There are only 10 days until Christmas."
But even with the discounts, not all shoppers want to spend their money.
Melody Easton, from New York City, was just laid off from her job before Thanksgiving.
The 29-year-old was out looking at photo frames and mugs at Crate & Barrel in Manhattan, but trying to keep her spending on gifts—for a shorter list of people this year—within reason.
"Usually I go all out, but I'm spending less this year," she said. "I usually have a long list, but not this year."