A Holiday Shopping Guide

The boutiques jewelry, pottery, hats, and other items from around the globe make unique holiday gifts for those hard-to-please folks on your list. By public transportation, take an MBTA #47 bus to Green Street at Magazine Street, then a Red Line train to Porter Square, and walk about five minutes. Nomad accepts all major credit cards. Discover high-end niche products at this Italian-concept store and museum in the North End. Photo courtesy of Officina 189 Where: 189 North St., Boston. Phone: 857-233-4300. When: Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday; Tuesday-Friday, noon to 7 p.m., weekends, noon to 8 p.m.

Sluggish start to holiday shopping season

"We can actually help merchants increase sales and conversions with what we do," she added. After a fast start to the holiday shopping season, online sales were lower than expected for the balance of the season, according to comScore. While the industry slowed during the period, Cardinal merchants saw 44 percent increases over 2012 for the period December 18 through Christmas Eve . "Consumers have adapted to shopping online and through mobile as both channels continue to grow," said Lavelle. "With another late- month Thanksgiving coming at the end of this year merchants will need secure, reliable Consumer Authentication more than ever.

CardinalCommerce Rolls Out E-Commerce Holiday Shopping Numbers .SUBJECTCODE04006003

The National Retail Federation reported that shoppers spent an average of 4% less over the holiday weekend, the first decline in spending since 2009 when the recession cut deeply into spending. Industry analyst ShopperTrak reported a modest 2.3% increase in spending on Thursday and Friday. But it said that spending at brick and mortar stores on Black Friday fell sharply compared to a year ago, as the consumers took advantage of Thanksgiving day openings . "It's spreading the jam a bit thinner over a larger piece of bread," said Bill Martin, president of ShopperTrak, about the impact of the extra day of shopping. The hope had been that a number of improvements in the economy, including record stock prices , a rebound in home values and car sales and some improvement in the unemployment rate , would result in stronger sales at the start of what will be a very short holiday shopping season. But some of the spending on cars and new homes this past year may have actually cut into holiday sales as it trimmed the amount of discretionary dollars that consumers had to spend on Christmas, according to Mathew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. "We have this economy that can't walk [and] chew gum my company at the same time," he said.