Chasing the Customer … Not the Competition … Update 6

It was not a cash register ringing holiday season for retailers most had predicted. What will be important is to see how retailers like Nordstrom and Macy’s performed against their peers based on their significant Omnichannel investments.

Overall, U.S. retailers posted their lowest holiday season sales gain in the last four years, according to ShopperTrak data. Sales were up 2.7% YOY and store traffic was down 14.6 % between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

ShopperTrak measures 50,000 retail stores across the country, but does not measure online traffic. comScore which does measure online traffic indicates a 10% season increase vs. their original forecast of 14%.

8 major retailers including Wal-Mart and Macy’s increased the number of circulars distributed 16% after the Thanksgiving disappointment according to MarketTrack. Most retailers also discounted prices heavily, up to 50% off, in the last days before Christmas in an attempt to lure spending. [Should be some very interesting earnings reports soon.]

The National Retail Federation will post its much more broadly based retail report next Tuesday. NRF had posted a pre-selling season increase of 3.9% including online sales.

How e commerce performed will also generate a lot of research and discussion on media communication performance also. Some of the preliminary data is already out and signals a continuing shift in consumer preferences for marketing communication and buying performance.

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