Deep Discounts Fail To Woo U.s. Holiday Shoppers

The National Retail Federation, which will publish its 2013 holiday sales tally next Tuesday, has forecast an increase of 3.9 percent, including online sales. The latest ShopperTrak data marks the first time since 2009 that sales growth has fallen below 3 percent, despite what analysts have called the most aggressive promotions since the recession. After a disappointing Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend, a group of eight major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and Macy's Inc (M.N), increased the number of circulars published by nearly 16 percent in the two following weeks, according to data firm MarketTrack. And Morgan Stanley estimated promotions in the final week of the season were up to 10 percent deeper than a year earlier, prompting it on Monday to say that its retail team expects "the worst holiday shopping season since 2008". In a sign of how tough the season was, J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) said on Wednesday it was "pleased" with its holiday season sales without giving specific results, prompting many on Wall Street to say the department store chain's sales may have declined last month.