Managing Editor-CNN New York
So how rough was the holiday season for retailers? Pretty rough according to early figures from Mastercard’s SpendingPulse, which estimated sales declined year-over-year by 5.5% to 8%. A good part of that decline in total sales can be blamed on plunging gas prices, but any drop is bad news.
In a separate survey from ShopperTrak, the key Saturday before Christmas, or “Super Saturday” as some call it, saw a scant half percent increase compared to 2007 levels, while foot traffic was down 17%.
Retailers want some help from the federal government next year. The National Retail Federation is seeking a series of sales tax-exempt shopping days added to Obama’s planned economic stimulus package.
Three periods in 2009 during March, July and October would be tax-free, and the federal government would reimburse states for lost tax revenue. The NRF estimates total savings would be $20 billion, and $175 per family.
Gas prices continue to dip – today marks the seventh consecutive decrease. AAA reports regular unleaded gas fell 6-tenths of a cent to $1.64 a gallon, a fresh 4-1/2 year low.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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