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Retail Report Card: Smoother Ending to Choppy Holiday Season

Women’s Wear Daily

By: David Moin

Hard goods outshined fashion in a holiday season that came on strong late.

Holiday sales came late and came on strong in the days just preceding Christmas and Hanukkah, and store executives anticipate a vigorous run of gift-card redemptions, winter clearances and some early spring fashion selling at full price in the days before New Year’s.

The weather has been favorable to retailers. “We had the coldest run-up week to Christmas since 2013 in the U.S., with all regions of the country trending colder than last year,” said Evan Gold, executive vice president of Planalytics. “Chicago and Seattle had their coldest run-up to Christmas since 2008, Detroit since 2005, and New York City since 2012. Demand for cold weather categories were up anywhere from 10 to 30 percent nationally last week, with higher comps when you zoom in to the colder markets. In terms of store traffic, today [Monday] is expected to be in the top five for traffic, although not in terms of sales dollars. It’s an important day nonetheless.”

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