Business roundup: Holiday sales increase projected at 4 percent


Holiday sales in November and December were up 2.7 percent from 2012. (Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg)
RETAIL
Sales up 2.7 percent
in holiday run-up

Holiday shoppers who put their purchases off until the last minute led a late surge in sales, according to data released Wednesday by ShopperTrak, a research firm.

Sales in November and ­December were up 2.7 percent from 2012, which was better than the firm’s projected increase of 2.4 percent. But foot traffic was down more than 14 percent from 2012.

The holiday season was marked by deep discounts from retailers who tried to drive shoppers into their stores in a short holiday period. There were six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in 2012. ShopperTrak said Black Friday was the top sales day of the season, followed by two days during Christmas week.

The National Retail Federation’s official holiday projection estimates a sales increase of nearly 4 percent. Department store J.C. Penney said Wednesday that it was “pleased” with its performance during the holiday period but did not give specifics in a statement to its shareholders.

— Amrita Jayakumar

PATENTS
Apple, SamsungCEOs to mediate

Apple and Samsung Electronics have agreed to attend a mediation session to be held on or before Feb. 19 as they prepare to clash in court in March over smartphone patents.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Samsung chief executive Oh-Hyun Kwon will attend the session with in-house lawyers only, according to a Wednesday court filing. Their legal teams met Monday to “discuss settlement opportunities,” the filing read.

Neither company returned messages seeking comment.

The technology rivals are facing a March trial date in the United States over Apple’s claims that Samsung infringed its patents.

In the past two years, Apple and Samsung have gone to trial twice in San Jose, Calif., federal court, and juries have awarded Apple about $930 million.

— Reuters

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