(Corrects company description)
* ShopperTrak sees holiday traffic up for first time since
* Monthly retail sales have strengthening for almost three
* Consumers more likely to browse
Sept 12 U.S. retail sales should rise 3.3
percent this holiday season, on what is expected to be the first
increase in shopper traffic since 2007, according to a forecast
from research firm ShopperTrak released on Wednesday.
ShopperTrak, which makes sales projections based on shopper
visits to more than 50,000 retail locations around the world,
expects foot traffic to increase 2.8 percent during the peak
holiday shopping months of November and December.
The holiday season can make or break a company's annual
results, accounting for one-third of annual sales in many cases.
Monthly retail sales have been up versus the previous year
for the last 34 of 35 months, as consumers gain confidence in
the U.S. economy's slow but fitful recovery.
Traffic trends have been improving since the U.S. Presidents
Day holiday in February, ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said.
In recent years, shoppers had been going to stores with
lists of what they intended to buy and did not spend a lot of
time browsing stores.
That behavior seems to be changing, Martin said.
This year, shoppers are "a little more relaxed about walking
around and seeing what's available in stores" and that presents
opportunities to ring up additional sales, he said.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve
Orlofsky and Phil Berlowitz)