— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on January 9, Thursday.
Hello and welcome to the CNBC Business Daily. I'm Li Sixuan at the Singapore Exchange.
The holiday shopping season just past was not quite a cheerful one for US retailers with data suggesting sales growth at a four year low. In spite of generous discounts and promotions, a number of factors conspired to keep shoppers away, including the growing popularity of online shopping, as well as the bitterly cold winter chills.
But all is not lost, according to this report filed by CNBC's Courtney Reagan:
Shopper Track is out with the first wide scale read on the holiday shopping season and it's a mixed picture. For November and December, in-store foot traffic at the nation's retailers fell 14.6 percent compared to the year prior, but in-store sales grew by 2.7 percent – actually slightly higher than Shopper Track had originally forecast for the season.
Now Shopper Track Founder Bill Martin says that the main reason for the traffic plunge, is that shoppers are making fewer unique store visits than in the past, because most window shopping is ow done online.
Shoppers who are making those shopping trips are going intended purchases in mind, which means that they're hitting fewer stores each time. That's why you see the traffic plunge but the sales increase.
Now Black Friday was indeed the strongest day for brick and mortar retailers for the season, both in terms of sales and traffic.
Then, there was a large lull, until the last minute panic kicked in. So the week ending December 28th accounted for four of the top ten sale and traffic days for the season.
Remember, on Christmas day, most of those stores were close, which means that four of the top ten shopping days came in a six day shopping week.
Now when it comes to the categories, Shopper Track says electronics and wireless saw the biggest sales increase – year-over-year up almost 5 percent. But they took the hardest hit to foot traffic, falling off nearly 13 percent.
The apparel and accessories category saw traffic drop of just 0.6 percent, sales for that group grew 3.5 percent for the season. We'll get a widespread read from the National Retail Federation, which includes online sales later this month.
Li Sixuan from CNBC's Singapore headquarters.
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