Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace holiday retail sales outpace national picture
Special sales at many stores started at midnight the day after Thanksgiving holiday to begin what turned out to be a sucessful holiday shopping season at Oakbrook Center. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 11, 2013 2:19AM
OAK BROOK — Local holiday retail sales in 2012 tended to be stronger than was the case nationally.
While retailers generally did well in Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace, holiday retail sales, nationally, grew at the weakest pace since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession, according to the Associated Press. The 2012 holiday shopping season was disrupted nationally by bad weather and consumers’ rising uncertainty about the economy.
Overall, retailers in Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace have been reporting increased sales, compared to 2011.
“It was a solid holiday season,” said Tracy Mulqueen, president of the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership. “There was definitely a universal improvement over last year. One retailer said more people were truly shopping this year more; the shopping converted into sales.”
Mulqueen said the larger success of area retailers as compared to the national picture for the 2012 holiday season likely is partially due to nature of many Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace retail businesses, which tend to be more high end.
“This area does very well, compared to a lot of other areas” she said. “Along with people who live in this area, there’s a large customer base from the large corporate presence in the area. Many of the people who work here also shop here.”
At Oakbrook Center, holiday sales appeared to be increased from a year ago, said Chuck Fleming, the mall’s senior general manager.
“I think we had a pretty good year,” Fleming said, adding he won’t see actual sales figures from the center’s more than 160 stores until the end of January. “We did better than last year; I expect that we’ll be up a couple of percentage points over last year.”
Fleming said the holiday shopping season at Oakbrook Center started strong and ended the same way.
“We started strong, slowed down a bit and then had a strong surge at the end,” he said. “From the traffic we had, just about everybody was strong. We have a strong array of retailers here.”
A report that tracks national spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, indicated that sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with 2011. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.
In 2008, sales declined by between 2 percent and 4 percent. A 4 percent increase is considered a healthy season.
November and December account for up to 40 percent of annual sales for many retailers.