Study: Retail Sales Fall 2.9% for Week of Jan. 19

Chicago, Retail sales for the week ending Jan. 19, 2008 decreased 2.9% compared to the same period in 2007, according to the ShopperTrak RCT Corp.’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE), a study that provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales.

Sales are also slipping on a weekly basis, the study said. On a week-by-week comparison, sales performance for the week of Jan. 19, slipped 3.5% compared to the week ending Jan. 12. This trend is expected to continue until Valentine’s Day weekend, when retailers could see a traffic boost, the study said.

“We expect that retail sales will continue to decline following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and will most likely reach a seasonal low before getting a shot around Valentine’s weekend,” said Bill Martin, co-founder, ShopperTrak.

“While a sales decline is never ideal, retailers have come to expect this rather slow performance following the holiday shopping season,” he said. “And it’s still a bit early in 2008 for them to hit the panic button.”

The NRSE is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry data on shopper movement and sales statistics.