Retailers give holiday shopping season an ‘A’

Retailers give holiday shopping season an ‘A’

Retailers in New York gave the holiday shopping season an “A” grade as consumers came out in force, breaking a two-year-long streak of weak sales during the recession, according to a new survey.

Eighty-four percent of retailers polled by the Retail Council of New York State said sales the week before Christmas were better than or the same as last year.

Overall, retailers graded the season an “A,” even though a snowstorm prevented many shoppers from venturing out on Dec. 26 to make returns and redeem gift cards.

Not all stores were as upbeat about the season.

Sales at The Toy Maker, an independently owned store at Stuyvesant Plaza in Guilderland, were not as strong in December as they were a year ago.

“I would give it a grade of ‘B’,” said Kevin Murphy, store manager. “It was a good year, but last year was a record December. I’m not sure why that was. It didn’t quite measure up this year.”

Murphy speculated the concern among state workers about layoffs in 2011 put a damper on some of the enthusiasm.

No single toy was the must-have gift this year.

According to the Retail Council, the hot sellers for girls were Barbie, dolls (generic), Dora the Explorer, video games, Disney Princess, Zhu Zhu Pets, American Girl, Disney Hannah Montana and Bratz

For boys, the popular gifts were video games, LEGO, cars (generic), Disney Toy Story, Hot Wheels, Transformers, Xbox 360, Iron Man, Nintendo Wii and trucks (generic)

Adults gave gift cards/certificates, electronics (televisions, mobile devices and e-readers), clothing (particularly cold weather apparel), jewelry, books and home goods (small home appliances and décor).

“We anticipated this year’s holiday sales would be better than 2009, but we were surprised by just how willing many consumers were to spend in the wake of the worst recession in decades,” Retail Council President and Chief Executive Officer James R. Sherin said. “This exemplifies how difficult it is to predict consumer behavior. All bets are off once a consumer walks through the door of their favorite store.”

Read more: Retailers give holiday shopping season an ‘A’ | The Business Review

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