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ShopperTrak Advises Retailers to Prepare for 10 Busiest Holiday Shopping Days

  
  
  

shoppertrak, people counting, people counter, retail countersWhile the greatest possible number of shopping days — 32 — lie between Black Friday and Christmas this year, it’s how retailers prepare for just 10 of those that will likely determine their success for the holiday season. That’s the guidance of ShopperTrak, the world’s largest counter and analyzer of retail foot traffic.

ShopperTrak predicts that national retail sales, when compared to the same period last year, will rise 3.3 percent during the peak holiday shopping months of November and December. Retail foot traffic will increase 2.8 percent.

Last year’s 10 busiest shopping days accounted for more than one-third (36.5 percent) of sales of general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other products (GAFO) for the November and December holiday season. This drove a 3.7 percent increase in total GAFO retail sales over 2010.

The expected sales increases of 2012 won’t come without effort, though. ShopperTrak says retailers will have to earn them.

“Those 32 days provide extra time for consumers to shop more frequently and to visit more stores during the holidays,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “But retailers must prepare to capitalize on the holiday opportunity while managing the increase in operating costs that go hand-in-hand with extended store hours on more shopping days.

“To make the most of these ‘bonus days,’ they’ll need to account for the calendar shift, as this year’s busiest days will be different than those of prior years. Retailers also will need to better understand and manage their store foot traffic and focus on improving shopper-conversion rates to increase sales.”

Central to this year’s increased retail foot traffic and sales are the two extra weekends in the holiday season that result from Christmas falling on a Tuesday. One “extra” weekend will occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas; the second will fall between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Weekends are vital to retailing, as seven of the top 10 retail traffic days and six of the top 10 sales days will fall on the six weekends between Nov. 23 (Black Friday) and Dec. 31.

As usual, holiday shopping will begin in earnest the day after Thanksgiving. This year, ShopperTrak expects that Black Friday will be the single biggest sales and foot traffic day of this holiday season. In 2011, Black Friday sales increased 6.6 percent over the same day of 2010. This resulted in $11.4 billion in retail purchases – the largest dollar amount ever spent on that day. Retail foot traffic rose accordingly, increasing by 5.1 percent over Black Friday 2010.

“This unusually long season presents retailers with opportunities and challenges. They’ll have a golden opportunity to convert more browsers into buyers, but they’ll have to prepare to manage increased operating costs,” said Martin. “Retailers will need to optimize staffing, scheduling, marketing and advertising with the calendar and individual store trends in mind.”

The following shows ShopperTrak’s forecasted busiest holiday sales and traffic days:

 

Sales Rank

Traffic Rank

Date

1

1

Friday, Nov. 23  (Black Friday)

2

2

Saturday, Dec. 22 (Super Saturday)

3

3

Saturday, Dec. 15

4

8

Friday, Dec. 21

5

6

Sunday,  Dec. 23

6

4

Saturday, Dec. 8

7

5

Wednesday, Dec. 26 (Day after Christmas)

8

7

Saturday,  Nov. 24 (Black Saturday)

9

-

Thursday, Dec. 20

10

-

Saturday, Dec. 29

-

9

Sunday, Dec. 16

-

10

Saturday, Dec. 1

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