Holiday retail wrap-up

According to Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins, combined November and December retail sales were up 4.4 percent from last year, which represents the fastest growth the United States has seen in eight years.

This increase is likely due to increased employment rates, decreased gas prices and a healthy stock market. Most of retailers, including Macy's and Wal-Mart, have yet to report their earnings, so the figures are not comprehensive. However, retail professionals are expecting fourth-quarter profits to rise by 8 percent, with home-improvement, auto parts and drug stores leading the way.

Clothing and apparel, on the other hand, did not do as well as might have been expected.

"Lack of must-have fashion items, heavy inventories in sweaters and outerwear, and a general shift in customer spending to non-apparel items" contributed to this change, analyst Roxanne Meyer told Marketwatch.

While clothing sales failed to inspire consumers, the electronics industry, led by Apple products, were successful sellers.

The busiest online shopping day of the year was surprisingly Dec. 28, with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday not even making the top five busiest online shopping days. Retailers are seeing a trend of consumers waiting until much later in the season to find even better deals.

Retail Metrics reported that online retail sales were up by 15 percent year-over-year a few days before Christmas, and by 8.3 percent on Christmas Day.

Now that the holiday season is over, start the new year off right with an upgraded credit card payment software. Both your employees and your customers will thank you when you purchase a more efficient and secure point-of-sale system for your company.

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