The holiday shopping season got off to a fast start, but concluded with a whimper and not the anticipated bang. It appears that the booming start pulled sales forward and retailers didn’t do enough — i.e., add to discounts — to attract shoppers between Black Friday and mid-December.
Retail Metrics said this morning that it is now expecting December same-store sales to rise by just 1.9% year-over-year, down 60 basis points from an initial estimate of 2.5% growth at the beginning of the month. Excluding drug store sales, same-store sales are now expected to rise 3%, a full percentage point below the earlier estimate.
The retail research firm noted that expectations for specialty retailers Gap Stores Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD), Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST) and The TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) have all been lowered.
Department stores did not escape the sales slowdown, with projections falling by 0.5% to 3.6% growth. Estimates declined for Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) and Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) as well. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is now expected to post a quarterly same-store sales decline of 24.9%, following a 26% drop in the previous quarter.