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US holiday sales up, but not at malls

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(Credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images) NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 24: A man dressed as Santa Claus greets people in Times Square on December 24, 2015 in New York City. Last-minute shoppers get some of the best deals, many of the major retailers, including Macy's and Kohl's, are set to stay open until 6 p.m. this Christmas Eve. Last Minute Shoppers Hit NYC Stores On December 24th
January 12
3:35 AM 2016

The US holiday season witnessed an encouraging growth of retail sales during 31 October 2015 to 4 January 2016. Despite growth in holiday shopping season, the foot traffic at retail stores at malls was not encouraging. The most of the shopping volume was recorded in late buying by the US consumers. 

Footfalls in stores drop by 6.4 percent in November and December 2015, however, money continued to flow in through the increased online buying. Retailers were facing many challenges this holiday season as they had to wait for long expecting discounts. Majority of shoppers preferred to buy online. 

According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the retail sales rose 3.3 percent during the holiday season 31 October 2015 to 4 January 2016. This was the almost same growth rate recorded in the previous holiday season, points out First Data Corp, which processes credit card transactions. First Data Corp analyzed 1.3 million retailers and their payment patterns. 

World's leading online retailers Wal-Mart Stores and Amazon have yet to announce their sales volume during the holiday season. The latest numbers announced so far by few major players indicate that there was major shift towards online shopping. 

Online sales growth this holiday season outnumbered the volume of physical sales at stores and malls, reports Gulf News quoting First Data. Overall sales this holiday season rose over two percent and online sales recorded 4.6 percent. The total sales at physical stores and online rose 2.4 percent as against 1.8 percent growth in the previous holiday season. 

Analysts observe that consumers prefer newness and they are finding it in technology and experiences. Consumers are watching Star Wars and also going out to eat.

However, shoppers shown interest in shopping at malls on Christmas day. The malls witnessed surge in footfalls on and after Christmas day. Many retailers were offering huge discounts to offload the holiday stock. This attracted consumers to do shopping at malls in a permitted volume, as reported by Macomb Daily

The US consumers are also spending at restaurants and on travel. These factors are putting more pressure on some departments, which have not adopted technology push. Macy's Inc has witnessed drop of 4.7 percent sales at its existing stores during November and December.

Macy's Inc has decided to slash down number of stores. Contrary to this, malls such as Stalwarts witnessed growth in holiday shopping season. L Brands Inc, owner of mall stalwarts such as Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works recorded eight percent rise in sales. 

Paul Lejuez, a Citi analyst, said: "You can't just look at the mall and say the consumer is weak. Some of those guys are losing share. The consumer is spending, but the question is what are they spending on?"

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