‘Tis the season to save, save, save!

December 27, 2013 admin

It seems that these days the holidays — i.e., Hanukkah, Christmas, etc. — are no longer about what they originally stood for, religious celebration, but more about shopping for the right gift to give someone on that special holiday.

With all of that spending going on, where are retailers sitting as far as earnings?

Most figures won’t come out until after the new year, but in the Forbes article “Christmas 2013 for the Retail Business: An Early Look at the Winners and Losers,” contributor Walter Loeb thinks retail sales are below retailers’ conservative plans. He states that uncooperative weather provided a very different situation than in 2012. Internet sales continued to be a help, increasing by at least 15 percent between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but even with that help, Loeb states budget-priced stores such as Walmart, Old Navy and Target had a tougher time than anticipated.

Pre-Christmas spending wasn’t what was expected. According to Reuters, despite deeper discounts, U.S. consumers shopped less on the final weekend before Christmas, but shoppers are showing signs they will do more of their spending after Dec. 25 than they did in the same period last year in hopes of snagging even more deals.

Reuters also reported that analytics firm RetailNext estimates that U.S. retail sales fell by 7 percent at brick-and-mortar stores on the weekend before Christmas, two of the four most important shopping days of the season, compared with the same days in the previous year (not including online sales, which have been strong).

The reason?

Reuters states that consumers are holding out for bigger bargains, up 25.1 percent from 20.8 percent in 2012, turning this year into the most competitive holiday season since the recession. I’ll admit that, yes, I waited until last minute; I am like any other consumer, waiting for the after-Christmas deals to see if I can find one thing I can save on.

I guess we’ll have to wait until the next big holiday (Valentine’s Day) to see what the final holiday shopping numbers were, but I think those waiting for deals will find them, and consumer spending will be up before the year is out.

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DenisefinalwebDenise DeChaine is special projects editor at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

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