U.S. Retail Sales Rise 14% in Post-Holiday Week

Los Angeles Post-holiday discounts and shoppers redeeming gift cards helped boost retail sales 14% for the last full week of December, according to data released on Wednesday.

ShopperTrak RCT, which tracks sales at more than 50,000 U.S. retail locations, also found that retail traffic rose 7% over a year ago during the week ended Dec. 29. But both sales and traffic that week were down from the prior pre-Christmas week, a peak period when droves of shoppers hit stores to take advantage of final last-minute discounts, the data found.

Sales fell nearly 18% and traffic dropped 8% from the week ended Dec. 22, ShopperTrak said, a decrease that also reflects one less shopping day—Christmas Day—in the week ended Dec. 29.

Winter storms in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast also curtailed shopping during the first part of December. But ShopperTrak said it still expects total holiday season sales, which it defines as sales in November and December, to rise 3.6% over the prior year.

SpendingPulse, a report released by MasterCard Advisors that measures the period from the Friday after Thanksgiving through midnight Dec. 24, said two weeks ago that holiday sales rose 3.6% this season. But those results do not include the post-Christmas spending activity, which has been growing with the popularity of gift cards.