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Holiday sales disappoint retailers

Janet Babin Dec 25, 2006

TESS VIGELAND:Retailers are hoping Santa forgot one or two presents that you just have to go out and buy tomorrow. Overall sales for this year’s holiday shopping season are strong, but lower than expected. Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.

JANET BABIN: A report out today from ShopperTrak found that sales for Friday and Saturday were up 22 percent over last year. But that was less than some retailers and analysts had forecast.

A lot of stores do a majority of their business over the holidays, so even if sales are off just a bit, it can affect the annual bottom line.

But there’s always January.

Retail analyst Eric Beder with Brean Murray Carret & Co. says the popularity of gift cards that get redeemed later has extended the holiday bonanza for many retailers

ERIC BEDER: January season becomes, you know, an added benefit because it’s additional season where they can sell at full price, and get nice margins on what historically has been very much a clearance month in January.

And even without a sale, who can spend just the amount on the face of that gift card?

Beder says overall growth for this holiday retail season will likely end up around 2 to 4 percent.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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