by Stephen Garner

Retail Holiday SalesGlobal retail analytics experts RetailNext Inc. has released its monthly Retail Performance Pulse, reporting stronger store performance in December than preceding months in every key performance metric.

In December, sales decreased 0.4 percent on a decline in store traffic of 5.8 percent, resulting in a combined November and December holiday shopping season performance of a 2 percent decrease in sales on a 6.4 percent drop in traffic.

The strongest weeks for brick-and-mortar retailers were the week of Christmas and the week after in the month of December, where strong conversion and sales-per-shopper resulted in sales increases of 10.8 percent and 6.7 percent respectfully. It was the second consecutive year of strong performance at the end of the calendar year, and reflected the changing trends in shopper journeys as shoppers.

“Brick-and-mortar retail’s holiday results do not come as a tremendous surprise as physical retail began to show signs of improvement early in November,” said Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. “The real news and somewhat of a surprise was the minimal sales drop in the month of December, well improved from a trend this year of around negative 7 percent. Retailers have worked very hard the past year to make noticeable changes in the store environment, including the addition enabling technologies, solutions to shopper pain points, and more knowledgeable sales associates on the front lines, and it’s beginning to pay off.”