WEAK RETAIL SALES OVER THE WEEKEND COULD FORETELL REPEAT OF LAST YEAR'S MELTDOWN: NEW CHRISTMAS RETAIL SURVEY BY ARG AND UBS
Charleston, SC, December 7, 2009. Contrary to some forecasts of an improved holiday shopping season in 2009, a new Christmas Retail Survey released today by America's Research Group (ARG) and UBS reveals that sales are weaker this year than in 2008. Of those consumers not shopping, an overwhelming number (95.1%) said they will wait to December 24 to get more items on sale.
"The shopping season is a repeat of last year," says C. Britt Beemer, CEO and founder of ARG. "More shoppers are waiting for better deals and stores just aren't giving them big enough discounts." Beemer says that consumers want 60% to 70% off in order to buy.
Wal-Mart continued to draw shoppers with 72.2% saying that they have shopped there this year compared to 69.1% last year.
Discount retailers in general continued to do well, with 27.6% of consumers saying that they spent the most at Wal-Mart over the weekend, compared to 25.7% last year. Almost ten percent (9.9%) of consumers (compared to 6.5% in 2008) spent most at JCPenney while 5.1% spent the most at K-Mart up from 2.6% last year.
Only 3.82% of parents have finished shopping for their children's gifts.
Shopping levels on Cyber Monday were flat at 28.7% of consumers saying they shopped on-line, compared with 27.1% last year.
As November retail sales figures came in lower than expected last week, Beemer's prediction made early in the season that retail sales will be down 2.9% compared to last year proved on the mark. His predictions have been accurate within a half of 1% over the past 17 of 18 holiday seasons. ARG and UBS will conduct a Christmas Retail Survey every weekend through the holiday sales season.
Conducted December 5 and 6, 2009 at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC, the ARG/UBS Christmas Retail Survey consisted of telephone interviews with 1,000 consumers. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%.
America's Research Group, one of the nation's foremost consumer research and strategic marketing firms, marks its 30th anniversary in 2009. CEO Britt Beemer is a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers. He is author of The Customer Rules, published by McGraw-Hill.
UBS Global Equity Research provides the broad global perspective and in-depth analysis that institutional investors need to make good investment decisions. With more than 600 analysts, associates, strategists and economists in EMEA, APAC and the Americas, UBS covers approximately 85% of the world market capitalization - over 3,300 companies worldwide across 46 different markets. In addition to UBS's disciplined fundamental research, clients also rely on UBS for corporate and expert access to give them the insight they need, when they need it.
Barbara Burns (212) 486-1140