The numbers are in, and by and large, the 2005 holiday shopping season was nothing to celebrate, as CIO predicted in the December 1, 2005 issue. Yesterday, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reported that chain store sales for the month increased by 3.2 percent on a year-over-year basis. For the two-month holiday shopping season (November and December combined), chain store sales posted a 3.5 percent gain, compared with a 2.3 percent gain in 2004. Michael Niemira, the ICSC’s chief economist, referred to the increases as moderate. The New York Timesquoted Harris Nesbitt retail analyst John Morris as characterizing the 2005 holiday shopping season as “not bad, kind of average.”
Although the industry numbers were lackluster, some retailers did well. Nordstom, which was featured in CIO’s December 1, 2005 story, A Season on the Brink, yesterday reported a 7.7 percent increase in same store sales during the month of December. Neiman Marcus and Abercrombie & Fitch were also winners, with sales growth of 8.6 and 29 percent respectively, according to the Times.
December same store sales at J.C. Penney, the other retailer CIO covered in the December 1 issue, increased 2.2 percent, which was an improvement over the 1.3 percent decrease the Plano, Texas-based retailer experienced December 2004.