The Retail Council of New York State says 57 percent of its members are indicating sales since Black Friday weekend were better than -- or the same as -- the same time period a year ago.
It's part of the organization's annual Holiday Sales Watch -- a series of surveys to gauge how retailers are doing during the holiday shopping season.
The Council's survey also asked members about the impact of the fiscal cliff on consumer shopping.
"One third of them reported that, yes, they do believe those discussions in Washington are having an effect -- and not a good one," says Rebecca Flach, the organization's vice president of membership and communication.
Another third indicated that they didn't think that it was yet having an effect, and the other third were all little unsure and Flach thinks are waiting to see what the critical 10 days before Christmas bring before weighing in on that topic.
The Council also says New York retailers are counting on a strong finish during the final weekends before Christmas.
The entire news release from the Retail Council is available below:
Consumers took their customary pause from holiday gift buying following the robust Black Friday weekend, leaving retailers' hopes pinned to the critical days before Christmas. Fifty-seven percent of members surveyed this week by the Retail Council indicated sales were better than or the same as their sales for the same period of time last year.
Retailers throughout the state reported the results through the Retail Council's annual "Holiday Sales Watch," a periodic snapshot of sales activity in stores small and large. This second Holiday Sales Watch gauged retailers' perceptions of sales activity since Black Friday weekend.
"Retailers anticipate a lull in shopping and purchasing between Black Friday weekend and the seven to 10 days before Christmas," said Retail Council President and Chief Executive Officer James R. Sherin. "This sales softness, however, keeps retailers focused and eager as they wait for shopping momentum to return."
Participating merchants point to uncertainty over the "fiscal cliff" debate in Congress, a 2012 calendar that adds two shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and weather as factors contributing to sales to date.
Survey participants are divided over the impact of the "fiscal cliff" fracas. One-third believes lack of a resolution on this matter is affecting sales. One-third doesn't believe the debate is playing a role in sales. The final third are unsure either way.
Respondents are equally torn over the effect of weather on sales. "We need more snow to get more people in the Holiday Spirit," noted one participating merchant, although another commented shoppers spend more when the weather is mild.
Home electronics, including televisions, tablets and smartphones, continue to move quickly, said Council survey participants. Other traditional holiday wares like gift cards, affordable accessories, clothing, jewelry, books and toys also sold well.
Retailers are turning their attention to the all-important weekend before Christmas, typically the busiest shopping period of the year.
"Merchants generally aren't surprised by a bit of a roller coaster ride during the holiday season," said Sherin. "But with a couple of extra shopping days on this year's calendar and a weekend right before Christmas we anticipate reporting a solid finale to the season."
Hot Sellers for Kids - 2012 Holiday Season
For Girls: Barbie, Dolls (generic), Furby, Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, American Girl, Video Games, Dora the Explorer, Apple iPad
For Boys: LEGO, Video Games, Hot Wheels, Cars (generic), Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, Transformers, Remote Controlled Vehicles, Furby, Trucks (generic)