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ICSC: Holiday sales up 3%


New York -- Sales for the November-December holiday period increased 3.0%, based on a tally of monthly reporting firms compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The rise came despite the extreme weather across much of the United States during prime holiday shopping time, and a shortened holiday season.

For the two-month holiday-selling period of 2013, U.S. chain-store sales for the industry — as reflected by the monthly reporting firms — outpaced the prior year’s rise of 1.8%, though individual retailer performance was very uneven and sales were extremely promotional across a wide spectrum of retailers, causing some retailers to warn of weaker earnings for the quarter.

“While some retailers undoubtedly faced a tough holiday season with more promotional activity, bouts of adverse weather and a cautious consumer, overall industry sales met expectations and managed to outpace last year’s growth rate,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and VP of research for ICSC.

For the calendar year of 2013, industry sales grew by 3.3% — in line with holiday season — and was the strongest annual sale performance since 2011 when sales spurted by 4.7%

Looking ahead to the end of the fiscal year for most retailers, ICSC Research forecasts January monthly comparable-store sales will increase by between 3% and 3.5% over last year, just slightly under the December increase.

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