Most Americans are nowhere close to having their holiday shopping done, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found. The poll boosts retailers' hopes for a bump in sales during the last two weeks before Christmas.
The poll, conducted Dec. 8-11, found that 58 percent of respondents said they are about half done with their holiday shopping and 28 percent said they still had not started.
The final weekend before Christmas, which falls on a Tuesday this year, "is going to be the pivotal sales weekend," said Jharonne Martis, Thomson Reuters' director of consumer research. An extra two days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year also is expected to boost sales this year.
Just over half of shoppers said they plan to spend about the same amount they spent last year, with only 14 percent telling Reuters they plan to spend more
Discount retailers that release monthly data, such as Target Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp., are expected to post a 5 percent rise in same-store sales, up from 4.3 percent growth in December 2011, Martis said. For department stores, including Macy's Inc. and Nordstrom Inc., a gain of 4.5 percent is forecast after a 4.2 percent rise last year.
Three percent growth in same-store sales is considered good, according to Martis.