Sales at U.S. retailers declined for the third straight week as storeowners grappled with winter storms and rising gasoline prices that discouraged shoppers during what may be the worst holiday season in five years.
Sales in the seven days through Dec. 15 fell 0.4 percent from a year earlier, following declines of 2.7 percent and 4.4 percent the previous two weeks, Chicago-based ShopperTrak RCT Corp. said yesterday.
This year's holiday shopping season may grow at the slowest pace since 2002, according to the National Retail Federation. U.S. shoppers finished just 20 percent of their holiday gift buying last weekend, according to a joint survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS Securities LLC. Consumers may be holding out for lower prices in coming days, analysts said.
Expect some serious promotions and price cutting this weekend.