Dec. 26 - Retailers' sales barely increased this holiday season, according to a preliminary estimate- a big disappointment from optimistic expectations. Bobbi Rebell reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE** PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL Not much holiday cheer for retailers this year- hit early on by Hurricane Sandy- and later by consumer worries about the fiscal cliff. Preliminary estimates from Mastercard Advisors SpendingPulse showed a gain of just 0.7 percent- much slower than in 2011. Brian Sozzi, Chief Investment Strategist at NBG productions: SOUNDBITE: BRIAN SOZZI, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, NBG PRODUCTIONS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You will see a lot of companies warn in terms of profits. I think those companies that will warn they will have had a lot of discounts they didn't have the right product in the store." The companies he's most worried about? Nordstrom- because aspirational shoppers held back on fiscal cliff worries. Best Buy- their new price matching initiatives weren't enough to counteract poor consumer perception. Radioshack- which Sozzi says has become too commoditized. Among the likely winners: Wal-Mart, Macy's, Michael Kors, and Gap according to Telsey Advisory Group. REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: In the case of Gap- analysts say it was their bright sweaters that were a hit with consumers. Consumers definitely picked favorites this year. Michael Niemira is the Chief Economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers: SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL NIEMIRA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It has been a very uneven industry performance. probably at least for the last year and that certainly continued into the holiday season so you can pick a segment like department stores that overall is not doing that well however you can also point to individual stores, a Macy's, that is doing well. so its a very fragmented industry performance." An early start helped retailers this year- as many added Gray Thursday- stores open on Thanksgiving- to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But there were consequences: Chris Christopher of IHS Global Insight: SOUNDBITE: CHRIS CHRISTOPHER, DIRECTOR, U.S. AND GLOBAL CONSUMER ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Gray Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday helped boost sales in November but took away from December. In our analysis retail sales at a weekly level suffered quite a bit after black friday weekend. " Retailers are now hoping post-Christmas sales can salvage what has been the worst holiday season since 2008- when the country was in recession.