Mass. holiday sales tailed off in December

Shoppers are seen at a Target store during Black Friday sales in the Brooklyn borough of New York, in this November 29, 2013, file photo.
Target said a massive payment card data breach during the holiday shopping season affected up to 70 million people, far more than previously estimated.
Credit: Reuters

Sales during the November and December holiday shopping season rose 2 percent above 2012 levels among members of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, the 4,000-member organization announced Tuesday.

The association had predicted a 3.5 percent sales increase before the shopping season. The association noted the 3.8 percent sales bump reported nationally on Tuesday was in line with the projections of the National Retail Federation.

The national projections had included a 9.3 percent increase in online says, and the state retailers group said its survey results are based exclusively on small, local retailers with limited or no Internet sales.

“The overall Massachusetts results show an increase over last year, but they lag both our projections and national results. It appears December did not continue the local momentum we saw in November,” association president Jon Hurst said in a statement.

“We believe a few factors weighed down local December results, including the calendar which meant we had one less weekend in December prior to Christmas versus last year; a couple of local storms which hurt customer traffic in stores; and the fact that we have very tech savvy consumers who purchase online—often sales tax-free—at a higher rate than occurs in many other areas of the country.”

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