THE BASIS POINT

Post-Holiday Retail Results: In The Red. Or The Black. Whichever The Bad One Is.

Below are some post holiday retail sales results from a Bloomberg report. Now major retailers like WalMart, Gap, and Macy’s are cutting profit forecasts. When Black Friday kicked off the holiday shopping season, we explained that Black Friday is named as such because it starts the season of huge sales that finally bring retailers into the black … which is ‘the good one’ in accounting jargon. We only clarify because being in the red this year may create some confusion about the definition of Black Friday—and might cause everyone to define it like Kruger from Seinfeld (see 1:08 in video).

U.S. December same-store sales dropped 1.7 percent, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported today. The New York-based trade group said sales declined 2.2 percent in the last two months of the year, the biggest such drop since it started tracking the data in 1970.

Some investors consider same-store sales the best measure of results because they exclude the effect of location openings and closings in the past year.

Retail Metrics Inc. said comparable-store sales dropped 0.9 percent last month, better than it had estimated, as department stores used discounts to lure more shoppers. Swampscott, Massachusetts-based Retail Metrics said its index hasn’t posted three consecutive monthly declines since it started collecting the data in 2000.