Fiscal Winter Blankets Holiday Retail Sales

According to the SpendingPulse report, online sales posted an increase of 8.4 percent from October 28 through Saturday. However, that is a sharp decrease from the online sales growth of 15 to 17 percent seen in the previous 18-month period. On Christmas, the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark showed online sales jumping 22.4 percent, compared to the 16.4 percent gain seen on December 25, 2011.

With holiday sales in November and December accounting for up to 40 percent of annual sales, many retailers traded lower on Wednesday. In fact, 16 of the 17 worst performers in the S&P 500 were retailers.

Luxury retailer Coach (NYSE:COH) was the biggest loser in the S&P 500, falling more than 5 percent. Gap (NYSE:GPS), one of the best performers in retail on a year-to-date basis, dropped nearly 3 percent. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT), the most popular retailers on the Internet, all traded in the red after the SpendingPulse report.

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