Duluth News Tribune
By: David Gaffen, Reuters
For those trying to make sense of who the winners and losers are this holiday shopping season, and what it says about the state of the U.S. economy, there are a plethora of forecasts, estimates and surveys, as well as tons of anecdotal evidence.
Investors and Wall Street strategists who follow retail sales provided Reuters with some guidelines to avoid being confused by the deluge of data.
They say that it is best to measure or forecast sales over a three-month period – from November to the end of January – rather than just a few days or a few weeks around Thanksgiving or heading into Christmas.
That way, timing impacts are reduced. This year, for example, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day is only 26 days against 32 days last year, and the increasing popularity of gift cards also is taken into account, as those sales usually occur in January, after the holidays. (Gift card sales are only measured by retailers when spent, not when they are first purchased.)
They also say it is important that data be as comprehensive as possible, and that the stores that are being measured…(read the entire article)