International Council of Shopping Centers

Despite Strong December Sales, a Mixed Holiday Season for Retail

The retail industry is reporting some much-needed good news in the form of stronger-than-expected December sales figures. But those numbers seem to have come as a result of desperate last-minute discounting, suggesting reduced profit margins and an increasingly hard-to-please American shopper.

Retail Sales Inched Up in Dec. to End Record Year

Retail sales inched up by just 0.1% in December, but the gain was enough to lift sales to a record level for 2011. It marked the largest annual increase in more than a decade, and confirms that the economy was strengthening as the year ended.

7 Retailers That May Become Household Names in 2012

Their brands aren't household names in the U.S. yet, but experts suggest you keep an eye on these seven emerging retailers with hot store concepts that are ripe for expansion. They could soon be headed to a mall near you.

The Mall-ification of the American Church

A third of America's indoor malls are currently in financial distress as retailers vacate for trendier shopping areas. But a surprising new breed of tenant is stepping in to fill that vacant retail space: churches.

Retail Watchers Upbeat on Back-to-School Outlook

Firecracker remnants may still dot the nation's sidewalks, but retail forecasters are already talking about back-to-school shopping season -- and they're happy to do so. The improved economic environment is setting the stage for sales gains in everything from tablet computers to bold-colored jeans.

December Sales Will Warm Merchants' Hearts

Shoppers didn't disappoint merchants, buying presents at both low- and high-end prices, from jewelry to shoes. Most analysts predict sales will show year-over-year increases of 3% to 4% on Thursday, when major chains post December figures and holiday totals.

Retailers are Optimistic About the Holiday Season

If expectations become reality, retailers will have a good holiday season this year. According to a report from the International Council of Shopping Centers on Wednesday, retailer optimism is at a three-year high.

A Rising Note for Consumer Confidence

The nation's recovery may appear slow in coming, but consumers are more upbeat heading into 2010. The Conference Board's consumer confidence rose to 52.9 in December, up from a revised 50.6 last month. That's the second monthly rise in a row.