Christmas sales could still be boosted by gifts cards, which have yet to be factored into the continuing numbers. (photo by Ben Lucier/flickr)
By Jim Anderson
CHICAGO - Christmas is over, and the retail stores are not celebrating.
They were hoping for a healthy boost in Christmas-season sales this year over last, but preliminary indications are they’ll be disappointed, according to Peter Gill of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
“The Illinois Retail Merchants Association was actually hoping for a 4.1 percent sales increase. It’s probably gonna be lower than that,” Gill said,
As preliminary numbers trickle in, the stores will not be stuck with unwanted merchandise they’ll have to sell at a loss.
“Retailers didn’t overdo it with their inventories this year, so even if sales don’t reach expectations they wouldn’t necessarily lose," Gill said. "They’ll simply not gain as much as expected."
Gill said the season got off to a good start Thanksgiving weekend, but that enthusiasm didn’t last the entire holiday season, as shoppers became cautious over economic concerns.
Gift cards were big items this year, and they don’t count towards sales until they’re redeemed for merchandise, so this week can still be a productive one for store owners.