‘A Lost Season’ For Retailers


If you’re looking for some cheerful economics news, forget about looking at holiday retail sales. According to The Wall Street Journal holiday sales for 2012 was up a meager 0.7%.

The annual holiday shop-a-thon drew to a muted close for many retailers, according to preliminary data, reflecting what some experts said was the slowest growth in spending since the 2008 recession.

For the eight weeks from Oct. 28 through Christmas Eve, retail sales for the holidays rose just 0.7% from the year before, according to MasterCard Inc.’s MA -1.65% SpendingPulse unit. …

This year, “it’s a lost season,” said Michael McNamara, Spending Pulse’s vice president of research and analysis. “Sales and volume are about the same as last year, but the growth was marginal.”

He and other analysts said a steep sales decline in the mid-Atlantic states that were walloped by superstorm Sandy dragged down the overall tally.

Retail consulting firm Customer Growth Partners said 2012 looks like the worst holiday-shopping season since 2009. (Read More)

On the bright side, at least the stock market was closed on Christmas.

U.S. stocks slid, heading for a third-straight drop, as lackluster reports on holiday sales suggested the season may have left retailers with nothing but coal under the tree.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled back 35 points, or 0.3%, to 13104 in afternoon trading, reversing earlier gains. U.S. markets were closed for the Christmas holiday Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell seven points, or 0.5%, to 1420. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 18 points, or 0.6%, to 2995. (Read More)

Isn’t this Obama economy something?