Perhaps confirming the collapse in consumer confidence we saw last week - that the market shrugged off on the back of Summers - ShopperTrak, which measures store traffic in 60,000 locations world-wide expects retail sales in November and December to rise by only 2.4%. As the WSJ reports, this will be the worst holiday season since 2009 (which last Friday's dismal +0.1% ex-Autos rise in retail sales for August supports). Retailers are clearly anxious with Kmart already airing its first holiday ad - 105 days before Christmas. As ShopperTrak notes, consumers are worried about a host of issues including rising interest rates that has "got people feeling more tenuous about the holiday season."
An early forecast predicts the holiday-shopping season will be the worst since 2009, mirroring the concerns of some retailers who are stepping up discounts and pushing earlier for what they fear will be hard-fought sales.
ShopperTrak, which measures store traffic in 60,000 locations world-wide and crunches other data to come up with its forecast, expects retail sales in November and December to rise by 2.4% from a year earlier, less than the 3% increase in 2012 and below the gains of around 4% in 2011 and 2010.
On Friday, the Commerce Department said retail sales rose just 0.1% in August excluding the auto sector, calling into question expectations that stronger consumer spending could help boost economic growth in the second half of the year.
Bill Martin, ShopperTrak's founder, said consumers are worried about a host of macroeconomic and political issues, including the possibility of a budget fight in Washington and the uncertainty over Syria, as well as rising interest rates.
"It's got people feeling more tenuous about the holiday season," Mr. Martin said.
Adding to the malaise is a lack of hot new fashion trends like the colored jeans that were a must-have item last year. As a result, many shoppers have delayed purchases, behavior that was in evidence during the lackluster back-to-school shopping period.