Business

Triangle holiday sales outpace national trend

Posted December 26, 2012

— Retailers nationwide reported a disappointing holiday season, but those in the Triangle said that sales were up from a year ago.

Melody Mitterling, who works at Handpicked in Raleigh's Cameron Village, said shoppers were still steadily coming in Wednesday despite the wet weather. 

"I wasn't looking forward to coming in with the rain, but time is flying by because we've been busy," she said.

Shoppers in the rain Raleigh retailers report better-than-average holiday

Kim Batts and her mother, Jane, saved their shopping until Wednesday. "Instead of buying for each other before Christmas, we just shop after because everything is on sale," she said.

The rain did not discourage them. "Who cares," Jane Batts laughed. "Less people out."

Austin Harrington, at Cantina 18, said he saw a successful season as well. 

"Sales are consistently up through the holidays," he said. "Cameron Village is a popular shopping area. We can get a lot of cross-traffic between employees and shoppers, so it keeps us all busy."

Sales of electronics, clothing, jewelry and home goods in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent compared with last year, according to the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report.

That was below the healthy 3 to 4 percent growth that analysts had expected — and it was the worst year-over-year performance since 2008, when spending shrank sharply during the Great Recession. In 2011, retail sales climbed 4 to 5 percent during November and December, according to ShopperTrak.

This year's shopping season was marred by bad weather, including the recovery from Hurricane Sandy in the northeast, and rising uncertainty about the economy in the face of possible tax hikes and spending cuts early next year. Some analysts say the massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., earlier this month may also have chipped away at shoppers' enthusiasm.

The weather slowed foot traffic a bit Wednesday at Learning Express in North Hills. It was a second disappointing day after a brief power outage that forced some stores to close early on Saturday, traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

"We busted open light sticks, we were wearing miner helmets, walking around with flashlights," Brand Manager Clayton Welch said. 

We actually were not off of our sales goals by very much on that day when the lights went out, so we’re very thankful," he said.

Retailers still have time to make up lost ground. The final week of December accounts for about 15 percent of the month's sales, said Michael McNamara, vice president for research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

Holiday sales are a crucial indicator of the economy's strength. November and December account for up to 40 percent of annual sales for many retailers. 

Spending by consumers accounts for 70 percent of overall economic activity, so the eight-week period encompassed by the SpendingPulse data is seen as a critical time not just for retailers but for manufacturers, wholesalers and companies at every other point along the supply chain.

Shopping over the past two months was weakest in areas affected by Sandy and a more recent winter storm in the Midwest. Sales declined by 3.9 percent in the mid-Atlantic and 1.4 percent in the Northeast compared with last year. They rose 0.9 percent in the north central part of the country.

The West and South posted gains of between 2 percent and 3 percent, still weaker than the 3 percent to 4 percent increases expected by many retail analysts.

9 Comments

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  • whatelseisnew Dec 27, 1:38 p.m.

    So which store is selling holidays? Do they have all holidays in stock? If they are out in the store, can you order one?

  • Frogm3n Dec 27, 1:36 p.m.

    Merry Christmas to all.................

  • WooHoo2You Dec 26, 6:22 p.m.

    Shopping might have been up, but very little profits this year since they all had to take a hit just to sell over stocked product.- miketroll3572

    You do understand that your made up 'facts' are simply made up?

  • Hans Dec 26, 5:33 p.m.

    Buy Buy Buy. Gimme Gimme Gimme.

  • miketroll3572 Dec 26, 5:15 p.m.

    Shopping might have been up, but very little profits this year since they all had to take a hit just to sell over stocked product.

  • WooHoo2You Dec 26, 4:49 p.m.

    Oleguy,

    -Christmas today and 50 plus years ago,, Its a sad time and a shame where the USA has gotten too.

    Please list actual examples.

    -50 Years ago Kids could go to school, say a prayer, read the bible and feel safe.

    No one is ever “safe,” kids still go to school, and they are quite free to pray…as always.

    - Our LIBERAL Govt has stopped that, now look at our schools.

    With AC and computers? People of all colors allowed in the same building? Teaching science instead of the ‘seven day creation’ thing that left out the dinosaurs? Teaching teens about sex-ED and a far lower teen pregnancy rate?

    - We the people must come up with a plan.

    Like what?

    - The USA cant take 50 more years of this Change and Hope,

    I think it’s only been 4 years.

    - GOD bless America and save us all from shopping

    Now you are on topic!

  • Malaki Dec 26, 1:50 p.m.

    Definitely has nothing to do with the weather. Wish I could vacation in Hawaii.

  • oleguy Dec 26, 1:43 p.m.

    Christmas today and 50 plus years ago,, Its a sad time and a shame where the USA has gotten too.50 Years ago Kids could go to school, say a prayer, read the bible and feel safe. Our LIBERAL Govt has stopped that, now look at our schools.
    We the people must come up with a plan. The USA cant take 50 more years of this Change and Hope, GOD bless America and save us all from shopping

  • Just Plain Common Sense Dec 26, 12:31 p.m.

    OH PLEASE. Has nothing to di with rain. We women shop in hail, rain, sleet and snow. It is because of no money...no jobs...no hope for economic recovery in sight. Get real...the rest ofmus don't live in fairyland where we can sprint off to Hawaii while the country goes to h$&l in a handbasket, and where our children are protected by armed guards at their schools. We live in the real world where we go to bed and gas, already too high is $3.16 a gallon and wake up to it now being $3.26 a gallon. Say what? THAT Is called price gouging.