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Christmas week shopping surged

By Blake Ellis, contributing writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Retail sales surged 8.8% during the week that included Christmas, although foot traffic was down slightly, according to an industry group report issued Wednesday.

Four of the season's top seven days of traffic were during the week ended Dec. 26, sales and traffic tracking firm ShopperTrak reported. The firm based its results on a sample of over 50,000 retail stores and enclosed malls.

The week followed a disappointing Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 19, that saw the major cities in the Northeast socked by a huge snowstorm.

"As expected, pent-up demand following the snowstorm on Super Saturday (Dec. 19) pushed consumers to spend heavily last week," Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, said in a statement.

Shoppers bought even more the day after Christmas than they did during the week leading up to the holiday, the report showed.

Spending totaled $7.9 billion on Dec. 26, up from $7.8 billion last year, making it the second best shopping day of the holiday season. Foot traffic climbed 7.7% compared with the previous Saturday, but dropped 6.6% from the same day last year.

"After Christmas, we had some deals out there that were not there before Christmas," said Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group. "A lot of people just didn't get the deals they wanted before Christmas and were waiting for the big 50-75% off deals the day after."

The increases came despite a 1% year-over-year decrease in foot traffic.

Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, was the best performing day of the season, with sales of $10.7 billion, according to ShopperTrak. Dec. 19, the Saturday before Christmas, ranked third with sales of $6.9 billion. And Dec. 23, a Wednesday, was fourth on the list.

Also making the list of the top seven shopping days of the season were two other days during Christmas week: Monday, Dec. 21, and Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Based on the positive retail sales results last week, ShopperTrak said it's on target to meet its prediction for November and December of a 1.6% rise in sales and 4.2% traffic decline. To top of page

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