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National holiday sales reach 40-year low

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
According to a national study released Tuesday, American businesses experienced the worst Christmas shopping season since at least 1970 this year.
The International Council of Shopping Centers released the study one week after the close of the holiday shopping season. The U.S. recession and even heavy discounts put in place by retailers were contributing factors, the study said.
Sales at U.S. chain stores fell 1.8 percent in the week ending December 27, as compared with the previous year, while sales fell 1.5 percent compared with the prior week.
Same-store sales are sales at stores opened at least a year and are considered a key indicator of a retailer's health.
The ICSC expects holiday sales, which measures sales in November and December, to fall 1.5 percent to 2 percent. That would represent the weakest performance since the ICSC began tracking such data in 1969.
The ICSC expects December sales at stores open at least a year to be down 1 percent or "possibly more."
Holiday sales usually account for 30 percent to 50 percent of a retailer's annual revenue. This year, however, many retailers struggled during the season as layoffs, economic woes and poor weather had many Americans cutting back on their spending.