NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bargain-seeking consumers headed into stores for their last-minute Christmas shopping during the "Super Saturday" weekend, to the relief of some worried retailers, according to data released on Monday.
ShopperTrak RCT, which tracks sales at more than 50,000 U.S. retail locations, said retail sales over the last weekend before Christmas -- December 21 to December 23 -- rose 18.7 percent compared with the same period last year.
On Super Saturday alone, sales rose 7.6 percent over the year-ago period to $9.36 billion. The last Saturday before Christmas is typically the biggest shopping day of the season, according to the National Retail Federation.
This year, the day was expected to be busier than ever as budget-conscious shoppers bet on deeper discounts closer to Christmas, as was evident from sales that fell 2.2 percent in the week ending December 22 compared with the year-earlier period.
"Retail traffic was slow during the first part of the week, but last minute shoppers swamped stores on the weekend, allowing retailers to breathe a sigh of relief," ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin said in a statement.
The Super Saturday sales numbers indicated ShopperTrak's forecast of a 3.6 percent gain in holiday sales is "right in line," Martin said.
ShopperTrak said sales for the week ending December 22 rose 33.1 percent compared with the week ending December 15, as holiday shopping peaked.
Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman; Editing by Braden Reddall