Retailers Celebrate “Super Saturday” With Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Last-minute deals lure shoppers as holiday crunch time arrives.

As the holiday shopping season winds down to its final days, area retailers have expanded hours and staffed up for what they hope will be a busy — and profitable — finish. We were trying to head back to the car but I have another hand and she has another hand,” said Dawn Ritchie. “We’ll shop until we have no more hands.” A new study released this week shows holiday gift sales nationwide are on pace to reach $140 billion this year. Shoppers like Tiffany Strother from Media, Pennsylvania were looking to cross off all of the names from their list in one ambitious trip. “I am just starting.

That includes Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas, which unseated Black Friday last year as the busiest shopping day of the season, according to ShopperTrak, which monitors shopper visits at more than 1,200 retailers. That breaks down to an average of $630 per customer. “We do, believe it or not, 50% of the business for the entire month in the last two weeks and I would say a good 25% of the business alone in the last four days,” she said. Joining “CBS This Morning: Saturday” with all the details is Lauren Lyons Cole, personal finance editor for the “International Business Times.” In a year marked by a lackluster Black Friday and a surge in online orders, the week before Christmas is as crucial as ever for retailers trying to woo shoppers into making last-minute purchases.

Even with the holiday season starting well before Black Friday, shoppers are waiting until the last minute hoping that retailers drop prices further, analysts said. Some shoppers said the unseasonably warm weather earlier in the month when temperatures soared into the 70s led them to put off trips to the mall until later in December. Almost 60% of consumers polled by market-research firm NPD Group said they hadn’t completed half or more of their shopping as of Dec. 13, up from 50% who said so during the same period last year. “We’re seeing some last minute discounting on popular items,” said Traci Gregorski, vice president of marketing for MarketTrack, a research firm that tracks prices. I have a list and a strategy,” said Nancy from Center City. “It’s to get out early before it gets crazy and get home.” Many malls and stores are accommodating the last-minute holiday shoppers by offering extended hours as Christmas approaches.

Kohl’s stores opened at 7 a.m. last Thursday and were scheduled to remain open for more than 170 hours straight, closing at 6 p.m. on Thursday, which is Christmas Eve. JCPenney stores began a new promotion this year running through Dec. 24 that offers customers a $25 store coupon for spending $100 on gift cards. “Gift cards are a huge last-minute item for us,” said spokeswoman Kate Coultas, adding the $25 store credit is an extra incentive that offers a gift for the gift giver. “There are some good deals,” she said as she looked through a rack of slipper socks on sale at JCPenney. Sales at physical stores declined 5.8% from Nov. 1 through Dec. 14, while traffic was down 8%, from a year earlier, according to RetailNext, which collects traffic and sales data through analytics software it provides to retailers.

Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak said retail sales on the four-day Black Friday weekend for brick-and-mortar stores, which doesn’t include online sales, declined an estimated 10 percent to $20.43 billion in total sales. Physical stores will have a chance to make up some of that lost ground this week, given that the majority of retailers have set Monday as the cutoff for placing online orders for delivery by Christmas, according to StellaService, a customer service analytics company. Louis area malls closed at midnight on Thanksgiving this year and didn’t re-open until 6 a.m. on Black Friday — a departure from previous years when malls were open longer on Black Friday. Super Saturday “actually was (the busiest) last year, and this season is showing a lot of similar parallels to last season from a consumer perspective,” said ICSC’s spokesperson Jesse Tron, adding he expects the weekend as a whole to be busy. Top sellers so far this year are new Surface laptops and Fitbit Surge GPS watches, she said. “We have had quite an increase from last year,” Capkovic said of foot traffic in the store.

The National Retail Federation forecast retailers’ sales in November and December — not including auto, gas and restaurant sales — will rise 3.7 percent to $631 billion, down slightly from last year’s 4.1 percent growth.

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