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Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stores try to create late holiday shopping surge with big discounts, more inventory

December 16, 2010

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— You won’t find uncommonly deep discounts, but you won’t have to worry about finding something to buy, either. For the first time in three years, the Christmas season is looking brighter for stores and shoppers alike.

With plenty of dollars remaining to be spent, stores are trying to attract late shoppers with measured discounts and other gimmicks, including pulling all-nighters and pushing more last-minute gifts.

Consumers are more primed to spend than they have been in several years. Projections for holiday spending are starting to approach pre-recession levels. The National Retail Federation and research firm ShopperTrak both raised their holiday forecasts this week.

Shoppers spent more than expected in November, helped by early discounts. And even though they’ve backed off more in early December than stores had hoped, analysts and retailers aren’t worried.

That’s because a burst of spending happens in the 10 days before Christmas, a period that accounted for 34 percent of holiday sales last year, up from 31 percent in 2006, according to ShopperTrak.

Store inventories are not as depleted as last year, when merchants scared about having too many leftovers began the season with skimpy offerings. That made it hard for shoppers to buy even a strand of lights in early December.

A few hot sellers are hard to find, according to Karen MacDonald, a spokeswoman at Taubman Centers. And those seeking some of the hot toys like Mattel Inc.’s Monster High dolls will have a hard time, though Toys R Us says it will keep getting daily shipments of the season’s hot toys.

“We are in very good stock position,” said Kathleen Waugh, a Toys R Us spokeswoman. “We picked the right toys. We’ll be ready around the clock.”

The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, raised its holiday forecast to 3.3 percent from its original projection that sales would climb 2.3 percent. That would put holiday sales at $451.5 billion, close to the holiday 2007 levels of $452.8 billion and well above 2006’s $444.7 billion.

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Dec 16th 2010 at 6:30PM

Walmart banks its repuation on having the lowest prices during the holidays, those low prices are touted on toys and electronics as gift items more than any other category. But according to an internal email, the retailer did the opposite in December, as managment asked Walmart stores to raise prices on hot toys.

According to Bloomberg news, an email circulated within the company instructed store managers to raise toy prices to ensure a profitable month of sales. A Walmart spokesman then told Bloomberg this was merely a standard response as "rollback" prices returned to normal.

Walmart Raising Prices and Selling Out of Toys, Report Says Laura HellerLaura Heller Dec 16th 2010 at 6:30PM

Walmart raising prices!~!!

Walmart banks its repuation on having the lowest prices during the holidays, those low prices are touted on toys and electronics as gift items more than any other category. But according to an internal email, the retailer did the opposite in December, as managment asked Walmart stores to raise prices on hot toys.

According to Bloomberg news, an email circulated within the company instructed store managers to raise toy prices to ensure a profitable month of sales. A Walmart spokesman then told Bloomberg this was merely a standard response as "rollback" prices returned to normal.

Walmart is the nation's largest toy seller and fiercely competes with Toys R Us and Target for the position. It nearly doubled the floor space devoted to toys this year, and nine days before Christmas it's out of stock on many popular items, including Nerf and Blaster toys and the Xbox Kinect. Toys R Us has the toys in stock and continues to run sales and promotions through the holiday.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Shop The Toy Store in downtown Lawrence

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