Holiday shopping numbers down; what that means for 2013

Nationwide, holiday shopping isn't what retailers had expected. According to the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, shopping the weeks before Christmas increased by less than 1%, that's down from the predicted sales increase of 3-4%.

Those statistics were accurate in Mishawaka, as shoppers wondered why the mall wasn't as busy as years past.

"We tried to get out here early to beat the crowd, but there's really no crowd to beat," said Eddie Tucker, of Edwardsburg.

Others agreed, "a lot less busy. Everybody was like 'good luck braving the mall today,' and we come here and it's empty," said holiday shopper Liz Mace.

Returns were down too according to a store manager at JC Penny.

"I am very surprised, it's taken us by shock this year, we don't have the returns like in the past. But again, we anticipate higher returns on the weekend," said Randy Petersen.

So with shopping down, what does that mean for consumers and retailers? Good bargains now, but possibly less product in the future.

A research analyst from NPD Inc. says holiday sales are a crucial indicator of the economy's strength. So if stores can't make up for lost ground this season, retailers will be forced to offer steeper disounts, in turn resulting in fewer goods and orders from manufacturers and wholesalers in 2013.

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