NEW YORK — Sparse crowds at malls and ‘‘50 percent off’’ signs at The Gap, AnnTaylor, and other stores give a clue as to how the holiday season is going.
This is shaping up to be the most discount-driven holiday season since the country was in a deep recession. It’s also one of the most disappointing for stores.
Sales are up 2 percent to $176.7 billion from the start of the season on Nov. 1 through Sunday, according to data obtained by the Associated Press from store data tracker ShopperTrak.
That’s a slower pace than expected given that there are just days left in the season: ShopperTrak is forecasting that sales will rise 2.4 percent to $265 billion for the two-month stretch that’s typically the busiest shopping period of the year. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.