Gift Cards Are Retailers' Last Chance for a Happy Holiday


The books are closed on the holiday shopping season, and researchers from ComScore to the National Retail Federation are adding up the final numbers, which will probably start to trickle out this week. Based on the figures through last weekend, sales in bricks-and-mortar stores might be up 1% from last year -- or down 1%. E-commerce sales, on the other hand, appear to have been higher by as much as 4%. But the online numbers may not be much comfort to the big store chains because cyber sales account for only a small fraction of their total revenue.