Norway’s Christmas shopping season got off to a slow start, reports retail trade association Virke. Total sales during the traditional kick-off week at the end of November were down 4.2 percent compared to the same week last year.
Credit card use increased, adding to concerns over Norwegians’ rising consumer debt level. Norwegians have long had large amounts of secured debt tied to their homes, for example, but unsecured consumer debt has taken off in recent years.
Virke’s statistics are compiled by analysis firm Kvarud based on retail sales reported by 190 shopping centers around the country. Virke officials suspect, however, that more Norwegians have been shopping online this year, not least after the Norwegian postal service reported they had 290,000 packages waiting for pick-up in that same last week of November. That’s 100,000 more than what Posten considers “normal.”