For stores, a very un-merry holiday
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Sales during the crucial year-end shopping season evaporated as economic woes trumped gift-buying enthusiasm among consumers. By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer
The 2008 holiday sales season is one of the worst for retailers in decades, as consumers' concerns about the economy and job losses crushed the typical year-end shopping exuberance. 'I don't see any reason for retailers to be rejoicing at all," said Britt Beemer, chairman and founder of America's Research Group.
Among the early sales tallies, new estimates from MasterCard Inc.'s SpendingPulse Data service indicated that total store sales fell about 3% in November and December combined. That would be significantly worse than the forecast from the National Retail Federation (NRF), which anticipated a 2.2% gain for the period.
The NRF's projection would still be the weakest holiday sales gain in six years. Beemer said he expects holiday sales to decline about 2.8%. The fourth-quarter shopping period is critical for merchants since it can account for as much as 50% of their annual profit and sales. And since consumer spending also fuels two-thirds of economic activity, any signals of a severe pullback in discretionary buying also doesn't bode well for the overall economy.
"A difficult economic environment combined with unfavorable weather during the last week of shopping made 2008 one of the most challenging holiday shopping seasons in decades," Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report. SpendingPulse's estimates are based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, combined with estimates for all other payment options, including cash and check. Based on those numbers, the firm said total clothing purchases in November and December dropped by as much as 21% over last year while purchases of electronics tumbled by 26% over last year.
"Sales above $1,000 have been a consistent drag on this sector throughout the season," McNamara said. The report said luxury sales showed the largest year-over-year decline, down by more than 34% over last year.
Even online purchases, which had shown year-over-year sales growth since the advent of the Internet in the 1990s, took a hit this year as consumers curtailed their spending in all retail channels. SpendingPulse numbers showed overall Web-based holiday sales fell 2.3% versus a year ago.
Separately, a report last week from sales tracker ComScore said Web-based holiday shopping fell for the first time in seven years. One retail analyst fears that although the holiday shopping season is winding down, the worst isn't yet over for merchants . "January [sales] will just collapse," said Richard Hastings, consumer strategist with Global Hunter Securities. Hastings had forecast a 6 to 8% sales decline for the three months of November through January. He said January has become an important sales month over the past few years because retailers look to clear leftover merchandise and redeem the gift cards given over the holiday season. But not this year, according to Hastings.
The NRF forecasted a 6% drop in holiday gift card sales as a shaky retail environment, accented by a rising number of bankruptcies, made consumers nervous about whether a merchant would still be around in 2009 to make good on the cards. . What's more, Hastings said there's no enthusiasm to shop if you really don't need anything. "The layoffs will continue into 2009. People realize that and it's making them nervous about spending money," he said.
So.......... how to make the best of this lousy news? try taking advantage of some of the after christmas online sales:
After Christmas Online Sale #1: Macmall.com
At Macmall.com you will be able to save up to 44% off Apple systems as they put on their Year End Clearance & Tax Savings Sale. The Apple iPods are also available at discount pricing and free engraving is offered for the case. Some are available for free shipping
After Christmas Online Sale #2: Homedepot.com
The online home building company will be offering online rebates that will include up to $300 off GE appliances and up to 30% off products made by Dirt Devil. All Christmas items will be offered at 50% - 60% off regular prices. Sale is good until December 31st.
After Christmas Online Sale #3: Walmart.com
Sales start at WalMart on December 26th and go until supplies are gone. Expect to see deep discounts up to 80% on lines of jewelry, appliances and toys. And don't forget those Christmas decorations that you need for next year, get them now at this After Christmas online sale.
After Christmas Online Sale #4: Macys.com
Macy's After Christmas Online Sale will include items from the jewelry department, bedding, kitchen and appliances. You will be able to get great household goods at up to 75% off retail prices. And they will also have women's clothing heavily discounted as they have a lot if inventory that needs to be moved.
After Christmas Online Sale #5: Target.com
Target's After Christmas online sale will start December 26th and will continue until all the supplies are gone. Expect to see great deals on Nintendo DS games at $25 each, and up to 60% off toys and 75% off select Christmas decorations and kitchen items. You will be able to get 90% off of GO designer Jonathan Saunder's collection which they are phasing out to make way for a new designer. There will also be deep discounts on appliances.
After Christmas Online Sale #6: Sears.com
Go to Sears.com for discounts on fine jewelry of up to 70% off, and home appliances and some clothing lines will be discounted the same. If you are going to get in shape for the New Year then treadmills will be on sale at 40% off. Watch Sears.com though, some sites say that even further discounts will be coming on New Year's day.
After Christmas Online Sale #7: Circuit City.com
The After Christmas Online Sale is mixed in with the need to liquidate for this bankrupt electronics store. Word is that they bought way too much inventory for the holiday season and now they have to move it. That means deep, deep discounts both online and at the brick and-mortar stores. While discount percentages are not posted yet, you can expect to see amazing deals on laptops, TV's, DVRs and digital cameras.
These are just some of the deals that you can expect to see in cyber-world for the After Christmas Online sales. Many retailers will be offering deep discounts in the days following Christmas as they try to move 2008 stock. Shop carefully, start early, know what you want and get it at the best prices you are likely to see at the After Christmas Online Sales.
Those above were brought to you by Associated Content.
and more, according to the US World and News reports:
J.C. Penney announced it will open at 5:30 a.m. the day after Christmas—the earliest opening in the store's history—and offer 100 door-buster specials, including 50 to 60 percent off private-label clothing for men and women, as well as 75 percent off Christmas decorations. The general merchandiser is offering a free wake-up call so that shoppers don't miss the sale.
The savings and values at Toys "R" Us stores will stretch into the New Year. Some of the items that will be available from Dec. 26, 2008, through Jan. 3, 2009, include 75 percent off a 1.60 Scale X-Trek Pro 15' Race Track Set; 60 percent off certain table games; 50 percent off some Hannah Montana Dolls; and 20 percent off all iPod cases and headphones.
Barnes & Noble, the nation's largest book retailer, is offering thousands of books at 50 to 90 percent off for its "After Holiday Warehouse Clearance Sale." Discounts are also available on music, DVDs, toys, video games, journals, calendars, and albums.
KB Toys announced Monday that it will be closing its doors for good and has launched a liquidation sale at all 461 of its KB Toys, KB Toy Outlet, KB Toys Holiday, and KB Toy Works stores. Sales at KB Toys stores will begin at 40 percent off regular prices.
The bath products retailer Bath and Body Works is having an after-holiday sale of up to 50 percent off on products including body lotions, shower gels, hand creams, and fragrances.
Kohl's is having a huge clearance of 60 to 80 percent off on men's, women's, and children's clothing.
Even luxury retailer Neiman Marcus will be offering steep discounts with its After Christmas Sale. Shoppers can find sales on women's, men's, and children's designer apparel, as well as designer shoes, handbags, and jewelry. Neiman Marcus will be offering an extra 40 percent off already-reduced prices.
Forbes has recommended these after Christmas sales as well:
Leron, New York, Jan. 5-Feb. 7
A queen-sized set of Leron's of hand-milled and -stitched sheets takes nearly a year to produce. That's why it's unusual that the linen company is offering 20% savings on a wide selection of custom bed, bath and table linens, as well as lingerie. There also will be up to a 60% discount on many one-of-a-kind items. Those who spend $1,000 at the sale get a $100 gift card for Feb. 9-April 30 purchases.For more information, visit www.leron.com.
Louis Boston, located on Newbury Street in a gorgeous old mansion that was formerly the Boston Natural History Museum, will begin its only holiday sale Jan. 7, where all fall items will be 50% off. Designers include runway favorites like Marni, Balenciaga and The Row, designed by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. For more information, visit www.louisboston.com.
Blackbird, Seattle and Online, Dec. 26-mid-January
This popular boutique predominantly features menswear, with a bit of utilitarian women's wear and home goods sprinkled in for good measure. Fall and winter items will be discounted by 25% to 75% starting Dec. 26. Feature sale items include Acne Jeans' PVC-coated cotton lace-ups for men, Julius' waxed cotton gabardine military-style coat and Comme des Garcons cowhide wallets in several colors. Other brands include Nom de Guerre, Band of Outsiders, Filippa K, A.P.C. and Opening Ceremony.For more information, visit www.blackbirdballard.com.
High-fashion discounter Yoox.com--which has sold everything from vintage to in-season Maison Martin Margiela in the past--is giving an extra 50% off certain already-reduced items, including pieces from Italian glitz label Versace and French progressive design collective Surface to Air. But the Web site, based in Italy, is not desperate to offload inventory before the holidays. While more items will go on sale starting Dec. 26, Yoox's discounts will apply only to about a quarter of its total inventory.
Jeffrey, Atlanta and New York, Dec. 26-mid-January
Known best for its combination of hard-to-find designers and relentlessly friendly customer service, Jeffrey will offer up to 50% off selected fall '08 ready-to-wear garments and shoes, such as Brian Atwood platforms and Prada pumps.For more information, visit www.jeffreyatlanta.com.
Calypso Home, Bal Harbour, Fla., Santa Monica, Calif., and New York, Dec. 26-mid-January
Designer Christian Celle's colorful silk shantung dresses continue to create rabid female fans of all ages. After the holidays, you'll find discounts up to 60% off everything from pillows to blankets to wall hangings from Celle's collection.For more information, visit www.calypso-celle.com.
Red Stamp Stationary, Online, Dec. 25-Jan. 15
Stock up on holiday cards for next year at this online stationers' annual sale, which will offer 20%-60% discounts on holiday trimmings (including gift wrap, tags, bags and ribbons), holiday cards and stationery, as well as 2009 calendars, agendas and desk accessories. For more information, visit www.redstamp.com.
Now, here are a few After Christmas Sales that I recommend:
Garnet Hill has the best bath towels I've ever bought. Nice and heavy and now 30% off here
Bluefly's Winter Sale:
Design Her Gals Boxing Day Special
Artful Home's Studio Sale:
Room & Board's Annual Clearance Sale
Happy Sale Shopping!