By Michelle Graff
Chicago--Shoppers took a bit of a break after the Black Friday weekend, as sales and traffic at brick-and-mortar stores were both down last week, according to data released by ShopperTrak.

For the week of Dec. 2 to 8, retail sales of general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other products at stores decreased 3 percent as compared with the same period a year earlier, and traffic was down 22 percent year-over-year.

“Shoppers usually take a brief break in the week after Black Weekend,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Lighter crowds and many in-store deals, however, helped Saturday, Dec. 7 see a 1.4 percent sales increase compared to the same day in 2012.”

The company notes that despite an uptick on Dec. 7, sales were still weak during the week due to calendar changes--with Hanukkah beginning on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) this year, many people had finished their Hanukkah shopping in November, rather than in early December like last year.

Additionally, Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) kicked off that week of shopping. Spending from desktop computers alone on that day--not even counting money spent via smartphones and tablets--reached $1.74 billion. That was an 18 percent year-over-year increase, making it the heaviest online spending day in history and meaning fewer people were heading into stores to shop.

Despite the dip, Martin said shopper activity is expected to increase each week because the 2013 calendar creates a shorter shopping period for consumers. 

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