Shoppertrak has issued the following warning to its clients (Note: Shoppertrak permits reprinting with acknowledgement of themselves and their “National Retail Sales Estimate” as the source):
Following an eight-month trend of slumping total U.S. retail foot traffic so far in 2007, ShopperTrak RCT, provider of the National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) and ShopperTrak Retail Traffic Index (SRTI), is advising retailers that this trend could indicate that an industry-wide drop in sales will follow in the near future.
While retail sales have remained positive, posting a year-over-year increase in 33 out of a possible 36 weeks in 2007, total U.S. foot traffic has slumped seven of eight months so far throughout the year:
March +2.9 [due to an early Easter]
This downward traffic trend represents the lengthiest ShopperTrak has seen since the company began collecting traffic data nearly ten years ago.“Historically, … after a sustained period of time, retail sales ultimately can begin to reflect the traffic decline like the one we’ve been monitoring throughout 2007, which suggests retailers could experience an industry-wide dip in sales in the coming months.”
Martin continued: “… we could see retail sales declining as early as the first quarter of 2008….”
Martin clarified that this trend does not indicate gloom and doom for upcoming holiday shopping season.
“We anticipate that purpose shopping will remain reasonably strong during the holidays, just as it has during the recent back-to-school and Easter shopping seasons,” he said.
My comments: It appears Goldilocks has unexpectedly caught the flu. Someone please inform Larry Kudlow.