Consumer traffic at the nation’s retail stores declined 23.7 percent and sales fell 5.3 percent compared with the period a year ago as concerns about the economy and snowstorms kept many shoppers at home, according to ShopperTrak, a research company. Last year foot traffic increased 7 percent and sales jumped 11.5 percent, according to ShopperTrak’s numbers.


Last month, ShopperTrak estimated that foot traffic for the entire holiday shopping season would decline about 10 percent from last year. Mr. Martin said sales will be down 1.5 to 2 percent. He attributed the relatively slight sales decline (compared with the steep falloff in shoppers) to the deluge of discounts that led shoppers to buy more. “For sales to be only down in the 5 percent range, it was a pretty good number,” he said.

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