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Retail Sales, Traffic Continue to Improve in First Half, Says ShopperTrak

Shopper-counting company estimates increased shopper activity

CHICAGO – Feb. 13, 2013 – Shopper activity will continue to improve intermittently through the first half of 2013, according to ShopperTrak, the world’s largest counter of retail foot traffic.

ShopperTrak estimates that during the first quarter of 2013, national retail sales will increase 3.2 percent and retail foot traffic will increase 3.5 percent, when compared to the same period last year. The company estimates that during the second quarter of 2013, national retail sales will increase 2.9 percent, though foot traffic will remain flat with a zero percent change, when compared to the same period in 2012.

 “This year is starting strong,” said ShopperTrak Founder Bill Martin. “Indeed, the first quarter will not only include the usual sales events for Valentine's Day and Presidents Day, but also grab Easter sales as the holiday falls earlier in the calendar this year. This activity will cause a spike in the first quarter and a lull in the second, for which retailers need to prepare.”

Holiday Ups and Downs

Retailers pushed to extend the high levels of holiday season shopping activity into the first quarter of the year. The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday fell on Jan. 21, several days later than it has been the past few years. This gave retailers extra time to promote their post-holiday sales. Many of them seized the opportunity and were able to drive elevated levels of retail sales and foot traffic.

This surge in shopper activity calmed in late January. The shopping lull between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Valentine’s Day generally is brief because consumers soon begin to shop for their valentines. ShopperTrak forecasts that Winter Storm Nemo will negatively impact retail traffic and sales for this Valentine’s Day.

 “Winter Storm Nemo pounded the Northeast during the final weekend before the holiday, impeding foot traffic to stores,” said Martin. “Traffic could be impacted further based on how long the region requires to recover. However, many shoppers will head back to stores the following weekend for Presidents Day sales.”

ShopperTrak forecasts that retail sales and foot traffic will continue to steadily increase through Easter, which falls on March 31 this year. The early date places the holiday and its shopper activity within the first quarter, sapping sales and traffic from April and the second quarter.

 “Easter generally drives a flurry of shopping for spring clothes, shoes and gifts,” said Martin. “While the holiday’s traffic and sales usually boost the second quarter, this year Easter activity will be attributed to March. After planning their marketing and operations against the first quarter holidays, retailers will need to carefully manage and optimize their operations to the shopper activity throughout the second quarter.”

About ShopperTrak’s NRSE

ShopperTrak measures foot traffic in more than 60,000 global locations and analyzes the data in a proprietary, econometric model to create its ShopperTrak National Retail Sales Estimate™ (NRSE) of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other sales (GAFO). Its estimate precedes the federal government’s official reports by several weeks.


About ShopperTrak

ShopperTrak is a retail technology company that anonymously counts people, analyzes data and identifies opportunities to increase revenue for retailers, mall developers and entertainment venues. Founded in 1995, ShopperTrak counts billions of shoppers annually in more than 60,000 locations across 75 countries. The Chicago-based company has more than 200 employees with offices in High Wycombe, England; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Shenzhen, China; and San Francisco, Calif. Find out more at


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Posted 02.12.2013