RetailNext Inc. reported that while December store sales at physical stores were down 10.7 percent on a 13.4-percent decline in shopper traffic, average transaction value (ATV) and sales per shopper metrics were up significantly, 5.6 percent and 3 percent respectively, sending strong signals that the role of the physical store has changed significantly in the new omni-channel era of retail.

The company’s monthly Retail Performance Pulse reports physical-store performance metrics for both the retail month of December and the cumulative November through December holiday shopping season.

“With the lingering effects of Election 2016 and the huge growth in online shopping, particularly through mobile touchpoints, retail store performance was expected to have a relatively slow start to the holiday season,” said Bridget Johns, head of marketing and customer experience at RetailNext. “However, store performance increased tremendously in the week leading up to Christmas Day and the start of Hanukkah, posting sizable year-over-year gains from holiday 2015.”

“Overall, the retail industry should report growth of close to four percent, with discount and outlet segments generally making up for soft department stores performance,” added Johns. “Perhaps the most interesting metrics are the strong ATV and shopper yield measures, signaling how the role of stores have changed as brands are converging their digital and physical touchpoints into a singular, seamless shopping experience. Today’s smart store is right-sized in footprint and located in high-trafficked areas, staffed optimally around peak traffic hours, and focused on brand awareness, customer acquisition and value-added services, complementing the long-term cultivation of shoppers through various digital touchpoints. And, despite just exiting a very taxing holiday season, the smart store retailer is already well underway in planning for holiday 2017.”

The strongest week for store performance in December was week four, December 18 through 24, when stores posted an increase in sales of 6.5 percent for the week, year over year. For the combined months of November and December, brick-and-mortar sales were down 9.9 percent on a 12.3 percent decline in store traffic, yet with strong 4.8 percent and 2.7 percent increases in ATV and sales per shopper. The complete RetailNext Retail Performance Pulse is available for download at