(By Balachander) ShopperTrak, a retail technology company, has reduced its holiday sales forecast, partly citing heavily discounted merchandise and the impact of hurricane Sandy.
The Chicago-based analyzer of customer traffic now expects holiday sales for the months of November and December to increase by around 2.5 percent, down from its prior projection of 3.3 percent growth year-over-year.
ShopperTrak continues to expect holiday season foot traffic to grow 2.8 percent over the same period last year. This represents the first increase in retail foot traffic during the holiday season since the recession in 2008, it said.
For the week ended Dec. 15, ShopperTrak said retail foot traffic rose 15.1 percent over the prior week and retail sales grew 16.4 percent.
[Related -Automating Ourselves To Unemployment]
"Hanukkah-related shopping helped boost retail sales last week, but many consumers delayed their Christmas shopping — and with good reason. They saw 32 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas, the longest interval possible," said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.
On a year-over-year basis, foot traffic and sales fell 4.4 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.
ShopperTrak forecasts largest weekly sales volume of the year in the week ending Dec. 22.