ATLANTA - It looks like a disappointing shopping season for retailers. Sales are nearly flat over a year ago, up only 0.7 percent. Analysts had predicted growth this year up to 4 percent.
The latest figure was released by MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. The company tracks all U.S. sales at stores and and online, via payment forms.
Retailers hope to make up 15 percent of December sales in the last week. However, crowds at Sugarloaf Mills Shopping Mall in Lawrenceville were light the day after Christmas.
"I'm just looking for deals," said Amber, a shopper who was browsing in Ross Dress for Less.
Signs offering deep discounts could be seen, yet many stores were virtually empty.
"We just got here. Give me some time," said another shopper.
Time is running out. If sales don't pick up this week it could be the worst holiday shopping season since the Great Recession of 2008.