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Super Saturday sales rise by 15.1%, but Thursday might be even bigger

December 21, 2010 | 11:27 am

Heavy rain in the West wasn't enough to dampen Super Saturday, with U.S. retail sales surging 15.1% to $7.58 billion over the same day last year, according to ShopperTrak, a research firm that installs tracking devices in stores around the country. Traffic on Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, rose 10.1%.

But ShopperTrak noted that the figures were skewed by blizzard-like conditions throughout the Northeast in 2009 that inflated this year's Super Saturday results.

Still, sales were strong and Super Saturday is expected to be the second-busiest traffic day and the third-largest sales day this holiday shopping season, according to ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. With $10.69 billion in sales, Black Friday is expected to hold up as the No. 1 sales and traffic day this holiday season for the fifth year in a row.

ShopperTrak is predicting that last-minute shoppers will flood retail stores on Thursday, bumping it above Super Saturday as the second-largest sales day this holiday season.

"The week leading into Christmas is hugely important for retailers as five of the top performing sales days are expected to fall during this period," Martin said. "The 10 days prior to Christmas typically account for anywhere from 31% to 34% of total retail sales for the entire season, which makes this a pressure-filled few days for retailers."

On Tuesday, the National Retail Federation said holiday sales account for 40% of retailers' annual revenue.

After surveying the crowds at several Los Angeles-area malls on Super Saturday, Ramesh Swamy, a retail analyst at Deloitte, said outdoor shopping centers were affected by the rainstorms but noted that traffic overall appeared healthy through the weekend.

"Clearly there are shopping intentions out there," he said. "And it seems like there's still a lot to be done for most folks."

-- Andrea Chang

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