Super Saturday sales, foot traffic from Christmas shoppers plummet

Shoppers brave the Third Street Promenade crowds on Super Saturday in Santa Monica.
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

Last-minute shoppers visited fewer stores and spent less money last week than they did the week before, putting a pinch on retailers who had hoped for strong sales during the final weekend before Christmas, according to ShopperTrak.

The data firm found that from Dec. 16-22, revenue at bricks-and-mortar stores slid 3.1% from the same week last year. Foot traffic tanked 21.2%.

Harsh weather kept many consumers from reaching malls, according to ShopperTrak.


And many Americans now research their shopping lists online before buying products in person, which results in fewer stores visited per shopping trip.

“Consumers have access to window-shop online almost 24 hours a day,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.

On the Saturday before Christmas -- known as Super Saturday -- deeper markdowns and increased promotions couldn’t reverse a 0.7% year-over-year decline in sales. Store visits that day plunged 18.1% from a year earlier.

Martin said that he was surprised by the numbers, having seen heavy crowds firsthand over the weekend.

But he said that many shoppers probably completed their holiday shopping earlier in the season than ever before, driven by Black Friday door-buster deals that began emerging weeks before Thanksgiving weekend.

“November is continuing to gain a larger percentage of the split of holiday sales,” Martin said.

Monday will be a strong shopping day, Martin said. Known in the industry as Father’s Day -- it’s when dads often decide to get their gift buying out of the way -- the day probably will be more profitable for retailers than Christmas Eve, when many consumers are traveling to their families.


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