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Holiday-sales falloff softens first quarter outlook

Dec. 18, 2006
What appeared to be a particularly strong start to the holiday shopping season in November has fizzled recently, raising the possibility that trucking in the first quarter could be met with a slow start.

What appeared to be a particularly strong start to the holiday shopping season in November has fizzled recently, raising the possibility that trucking in the first quarter could be met with a slow start.

On Black Friday, known as the busiest shopping day of the year as retailers use deep discounts to entice holiday shoppers, shoppers showed up in force. But a steeper-than-anticipated sales drop-off followed that weekend.

But retailers are stilling holding out hope that procrastinators will bring up December sales back up to strong levels. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, only 10.8% of consumers have completely finished their holiday shopping, with 15.4% haven’t even started yet.

“With Christmas falling on Monday this year, retailers have one more weekend to bring in those holiday procrastinators,” said NRF president & CEO Tracy Mullin.

“Even as of today the big rush for holiday shopping has slowed down earlier than expected,” Satish Jindel, president of S.J. Consultants told FleetOwner. “There’s now pressure on the retailers to increase discounts. The excitement that was there on Thanksgiving weekend calmed sooner than anticipated.”

Noting that 2006 has already been a relatively sluggish year for trucking compared with 2005, “The first quarter of trucking is shaping up to be a slow quarter,” Jindel said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in November retail sales excluding autos increased 5.3% compared with the same month last year.

“I don’t think this December will exceed December of last year,” S.J. Consulting’s Jindel said. “All of the sales and deals are going to go away and the reality is that people don’t have the same level of confidence and disposable income to sustain that kind of growth.”

To comment on this article, write to Terrence Nguyen at [email protected]

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Terrence Nguyen

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