Shopping MallMasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) advisors SpendingPulse reports that improvement in holiday sales this year have been the lowest since the start of the recession in 2008. If the information is correct, it probably indicates that either the fiscal cliff or an economy that has slowed because of trouble in Europe reined in America shopping activity.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

For the eight weeks from Oct. 28 through Christmas Eve, retail sales for the holidays rose just 0.7% from the year before, according to MasterCard Inc.'s SpendingPulse unit/

The data would contradict forecasts from comScore about online activity, as well as the National Retail Federation, which expected sales improvement to be above 3%.

The information does not bode well for retailers and may severely damage the prospects of the weakest companies in the sector. which needed a strong holiday sales season to show any recovery. This includes J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP), Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) and Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD), which owns Sears and Kmart, particularly.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Retail Tagged: BBY, featured, JCP, MA, SHLD

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