The 2012 holiday season may have been the worst for retailers since the financial crisis, with sales growth far below expectations, forcing many to offer massive post-Christmas discounts in hopes of shedding excess inventory.
While chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Gap Inc are thought to have done well, analysts expect much less from the likes of book seller Barnes & Noble Inc and department store chain J. C. Penney Co.
Growth was always expected to slow this season nationwide, though an improving employment picture and rising home values had helped mitigate the worst fears.
But then Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in late October, mild weather blunted sales of winter clothing and rising concern about the “fiscal cliff” became more of a reality, dragging down already pessimistic forecasts.
What was your holiday spending? Did a struggling economy limit your purchases this year? What’s your outlook going into 2013?
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