Retailers Hope For Increase In Post-Holiday Sales - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Retailers Hope For Increase In Post-Holiday Sales

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NewsChannel5/ AP)- After one of the weakest season for holiday sales since 2008, retailers spent the day after Christmas hoping that deep discounts would bring out shoppers.

According to a MasterCard Advisors Spending Pulse report sales for the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent compared with last year, but that number was still 3 to 4 percent lower than expected. These low sales numbers encouraged retailers to add heavy discounts to normal after-Christmas sales. Customers shopping at Opry Mills on Wednesday found sales of up to 80% regularly priced merchandise.

Many of those at the mall Wednesday were out spending gift cards and cash they have received during the holidays, hoping to find a good deal.

Holiday sales are a crucial indicator of the economy's strength. November and December account for up to 40 percent of annual revenue for many retailers. If those sales don't materialize, stores are forced to offer steeper discounts. That's a boon for shoppers, but it cuts into stores' profits.

Online sales, typically a bright spot, grew only 8.4 percent from Oct. 28 through Saturday, according to SpendingPulse. That's a dramatic slowdown from the online sales growth of 15 to 17 percent seen in the prior 18-month period, according to the data service.

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