12/26/12, "US Holiday Retail Sales Growth Weakest Since 2008," AP, via ABC News
"U.S. holiday retail sales this year grew at the weakest pace since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession....
A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard
Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before
Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts
had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.
In 2008, sales declined by between 2 percent and 4 percent as the
financial crisis that crested that fall dragged the economy into
recession. Last year, by contrast, retail sales in November and December
rose between 4 percent and 5 percent, according to ShopperTrak, a
separate market research firm. A 4 percent increase is considered a
Online sales, typically a bright spot, grew only 8.4 percent from Oct.
28 through Saturday, according to SpendingPulse. That's a dramatic
slowdown from the online sales growth of 15 to 17 percent seen in the
prior 18-month period, according to the data service.
Online sales did enjoy a modest boost after the recent snowstorm that
hit the Midwest, McNamara said. Online sales make up about 10 percent of
total holiday business."