Retailers who were hoping for some holiday cheer have found coal in their stockings this year.
According to MasterCard's (MA) SpendingPulse report, retail sales leading up to Christmas rose a paltry 0.7% from last year, which wasn't exactly a stellar year for retailers either. And it was far below the 3% to 4% analysts had expected.
It's been a couple of tough months for retailers, no thanks to Superstorm Sandy. Sales fell for the first time in four months in October, but rebounded in November, which evened things out. But December isn't shaping up to be as strong as many had hoped.
That's certainly one way to put it.
Although I do find it a bit surprising that people had such lofty expectations, given the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff and the economy overall. Even though jobs have started to come back, the pace of growth is anything but consistent.
That's also a potentially troubling sign since luxury generally manages to weather the downturns. Even online retailers are taking a hit.
A slowdown in retail sales doesn't bode well for the broader market either.
Here's hoping the post-holiday sales will help make up for some of the lost revenue. And if lawmakers can get their act together over the fiscal cliff, we may be lucky and get a January surprise.
Cyber Monday has been good to eBay.
Shares of the auction site hit a 52-week high Thursday, just days after logging strong gains on one of the most important online shopping days of the year for retailers.
It's not just online shopping that's attracting consumer interest. All in all, it looks like consumers are increasingly getting more comfortable with paying for their purchases on mobile devices.
eBay (EBAY) also got a boost MORECatherine Tymkiw - Nov 29, 2012 11:49 AM ET
Sears (SHLD) is amazingly still one of the hottest stocks of 2012. Shares are up nearly 55% year-to-date. But the retailer's stock plunged more than 20% Friday after the Kmart owner reported another massive loss and a decline in sales.
The company has been MOREPaul R. La Monica - Nov 16, 2012 3:15 PM ET
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