Foreclosures have already damaged the economy. It is unlikely that post-holiday shopping will undo it. The retailers of America see no difference between pre-holiday and post-holiday moods – everything is drowned in one big flood of woes. The holiday season was one of the worst in living memory. There were no post-Christmas rushes for buying gifts and cards going for discounts.
For retailers the holiday sales account for about 30% to 50% of the annual total business. But with people cutting back on their spending as they battled with unemployment and foreclosures, the shop owners were badly hit. Michael P. Niemira of International Council of Shopping Centers apprehended that sales would drop by 1.5% to 2% during the festive months of November and December. Since 1969 the retailers have not seen such a dull season.
SpendingPlus – a branch of MasterCard Advisors collects data relating to purchases made through credit card, cheques and cash. According to its findings the retail sales dropped by 5.5% and 8% during this holiday season in comparison with the previous year of 2007. For a clearer picture one will have to wait 8th January for more reports to come in from the major stores.
Retailers however are still trying to tempt buyers with big discounts, extended shopping hours and other temptations. Tom Aiello of Sears and Kmart said, “It has a Black Friday feel to it.” Sears opens up early offering door-buster deals till noon. Buyers can for instance get a pair of jeans for $10 or may be even less! Kmart is giving 50% discounts on autumn and winter-wear while offering tempting reductions on décor stuff for the season.
The sale of gift cards has sharply gone down – as it was predicted to do so. The price of toys has been sliced by 60% on quite a few brands just a day after Christmas. Hannah Montana dolls will be now easy to lay hands on.
Some retailers are opting for online deals rather than relying on stores to promote sales. This tendency is more noticed during the post-holiday season. Thousands of items are on clearance at Target with free shipping following Christmas.
Wal Mart and few others are waiting for the weekend to bring in the discounts on stuff like television sets, home and office items etc. They will continue with sales promotions through the stores for about another week. Pundits say that recession will continue into 2009.