Retailers pull out all the stops for Super Saturday

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Retailers offering huge discounts for Super Saturday, the busiest Saturday before Christmas.

If you’ve got a crazy work schedule and can never make it to stores for holiday shopping during normal hours, you’re in luck—because several retailers have unleashed crazy work hours to match your own. Here are some options for consumers who want to go browsing in stores for gifts way past the midnight hour, and at the very last minute just before Christmas.

Super Saturday, the busiest shopping day before Christmas, also happens to be the last day for guaranteed-by-Christmas delivery for many merchants. (Danny Johnston, AP File) CLEVELAND, Ohio — With the Christmas countdown ticking into single digits, retailers are extending their sales, deepening their discounts and keeping their stores open ’round the clock to pull still-reluctant shoppers into their stores for Super Saturday. Record-shattering warmth throughout the Northeast — including the warmest temperatures in 120 years in Cleveland — have hit retailers especially hard, said Bill Kirk, chief executive and co-founder of Weather Trends International Inc., a business weather analytics company in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. And while stores like Macy’s and Target are generally calling it a night on Christmas Eve at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., Walmart is staying open until 8 p.m..

Sales are especially slow when compared to the epic cold and snow last November, which drove sales of cold winter merchandise up 50 percent to 500 percent at full margins, he said. From Saturday, Dec. 19, through the following Tuesday, Toys R Us locations will increase hours and be closed for only four hours daily—they’ll shut at 2 a.m. and open back up at 6 a.m. The big losers are Northeast winter merchandise firms and retailers whose stores are concentrated in the Northeast, but the winners are consumers who are saving 40 percent on heating bills, home improvement centers that specialize in outdoor projects, restaurants and movie theaters. The International Council of Shopping Centers estimates that with an average of 44 percent of their holiday shopping left to do, 112.8 million shoppers will hit stores and shopping centers on Saturday to shop, dine, see a movie and/or attend a holiday event. Penney is following up its decision to open at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day with stores opening at 8 a.m. (rather than the usual 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.) now through Dec. 23, and then on Dec. 24 doors open at 7 a.m.

We expect the last few days leading up to Christmas to be a flurry of shopping activity.” Consumers are still buying Christmas gifts, “but in a colder/snowier season you also have to buy winter merchandise on top of that — jackets, gloves, ice melt, snow blowers, auto batteries, more hot cocoa, more soup, etc.,” Kirk said. “This year, it’s gifts only, as you don’t need much or consume as much of the winter seasonal items. “Ask any retailer, and they have EPIC RECORD WINTER INVENTORY LEVELS in the Eastern half of the country, stacked to the rafters in their distribution centers and back of stores. We have one day of ‘cold’ weather this Saturday, but that can’t move three months of excess inventory.” — Best Buy is offering free expedited two-day shipping on select products through 9:30 a.m.

Customers who buy those items as gifts can give the recipients instructions on how to redeem their free one-on-one appointments with a Geek Squad Agent. — Fannie May Confections Brands, which has a chocolate factory and store in North Canton, has a “buy two, get one free” offer on pre-wrapped boxes of chocolates valued at $24.99 each, through Christmas Eve. — Ikea is taking 50 percent off all soft toys on Saturday and Sunday, plus making a $1 donation to children’s education through UNICEF and Save the Children for every soft toy purchased. Kirk, of WeatherTrends, said: “Retailers have so much excess inventory they will be giving away until mid-Spring… furthering the pain of three quarters in a row of all the wrong weather — record warm Fall, Winter, and then cold Spring.” “We don’t think we get the weather back in sync with retailers’ selling seasons until Summer next year, which will be hot/dry in the North with a positively epic 2016 hurricane season in the south.”

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