The Selling Panic Begins: A Summary Of Retailers' "After-Christmas" Deals

Tyler Durden's picture

As the holiday spending season draws to a close, there has been a huge schism between hope and reality once again as captured by these two numbers: 3.9% and -3.5%. The first, aka hope, is how much the national retail federation predicted holiday sales would rise by at the start of the holiday season; the second, aka reality, is how much in-store retail sales declined by in the week before Christmas. So what is a despondent retail industry - which unlike the stock market can't put off delivering results forever - to do? Why bet it all on a huge after-Christmas surge of course. 

As USA Today reports, some online sales, including at and, start on Christmas Day. And for sales die-hards, many Wal-Mart and Kohl's stores will open on Thursday by 5 a.m. "This is an especially big time for people who got gift cards to come and spend on what they didn't get for Christmas," says Sarah McKinney, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. It is also the single-most popular day to redeem Target gift cards. Then again, one wonders just how hacked those are...

A quick summary of the panicked retailers' biggest sales incentives and deals to offload all leftover inventory heading into 2014 is presented below (via USAToday)

  • Buy one, get one free. Macy's rolls out buy one, get one free deals on many men's dress shirts and designer suits, says spokeswoman Elina Kazan.
  • Cheap appliances. Sears is offering up to 40% off on appliances for shoppers who use their Sears card to purchase appliances over $499, says spokesman Brian Hanover.
  • Free Gas. Kmart is offering its "Shop Your Way" members 50 cents per gallon gas discounts when they spend $25 or more on specific Procter & Gamble products.
  • Half-price toys. Target, hit by a credit card and debit card breach that affected up to 40 million consumers, plans sales of up to 50% off select toys and 40% off thousands of apparel items. The sales have no relation to and were not affected by the data breach, says LaFromboise.
  • Items 25% to 50% off. Wal-Mart stores will have "thousands" of items at 25% to 50% off, says McKinney. Among them: a Nintendo 3DS XL System for $199.96 — plus a $50 Wal-Mart gift card, with purchase.
  • $10 coupons. J.C. Penney will offer coupons for $10 off purchases of $25 of more in a Christmas Day circular and also a coupon that can be printed from its website. The coupons are good through Dec. 28, says spokeswoman Daphne Availa.
  • Hot toy deals. Buy one, get one 40% off on some red-hot toys, including Skylanders figures and accessories, at Toys R Us, through New Year's Day. The same offer applies to all video games. The post-Christmas deals are three days longer than last year, says spokeswoman Linda DeNotaris.
  • Big incentives. At Kohl's, shoppers who spend under $100 will save an additional 15% off nearly everything in the store, while those who spend over $100 will save an additional 20%, says spokeswoman Jen Johnson.
  • 33% off men's wear. Nordstrom's Half-Yearly Sale for men, which reduces prices as much as 33%, begins online Dec. 25 and in stores Dec. 26, says spokesman John Bailey.

Finally, for those who are not tempted by consumer culture and the buy 1 get [   ] free deals, there is always the stock market with its just as tempting blue light special to BTFATH.... again and again.... courtesy of the Fed.

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bullionbaron's picture

US retailers scramble to offload Chinese made goods to consumers.

Meanwhile, in China, consumers scramble to buy Gold.

Headbanger's picture

Yes we can't!

Because Obama.

malikai's picture

Something I never understood about that whole gas-for-shopping thing..

Retail margins on gasoline are unbelieveably small..

If I show up and buy my proctor and gamble crap, take the $0.50 off per gallon and fill up a 200 gallon trailer tank, how the hell are they going to make money on that deal?

Seasmoke's picture

As the price of gas has gone higher and higher. The number of gas stations I see closed has gone higher and higher. 

malikai's picture

My wild guess would be that's because more expensive gas = less cash to buy shit inside the gas station..

Starving the gas stations of their margin.

Bobbyrib's picture

Everything is being propped up..except the average worker's wages. Welcome to the recovery.

j0nx's picture

That's OK. Rest easy because the CEO and executive salaries are climbing exponentially to make up for that. The money is there, it's just being redistributed upward.

Ying-Yang's picture

The week after Christmas is the last gasp for brick and mortar stores to make a push.

As margins are slashed to dump excess inventories, part time workers will be laid off in droves.

Throughout 2014 the corporations will decide whether to dump employees out onto the healthcare marketplace or absorb the increases. My guess is they will use the marketplace as a way to lower corporate healthcare expenses to help their shrinking bottom lines.

Employees who are dumped will see for themselves how bad Obamacare is and there will be more anger among the sheep than usual. With lower profits, unhappy employees, retail sales are going to take a big hit. Yellen will reverse taper and print 100+ QE to no avail.

Majority of people finally get pissed off in 2014. Turning point?


SDShack's picture

Your analysis is correct, but it won't be a turning point. Just more Red versus Blue drama. The bottom line is the repugs get stronger, the dumbcrats weaker. But spending increases, debt increases, bailouts continue, taxes increase, costs increase, wages decrease, amnesty is passed increasing the FSA, but token cuts are made to the FSA benefits, and the MIC is strengthened. Same as it ever was. The never ending march to the New Feudal World Order continues. The sociopath powers that be won't be stopped unless something unexpected rallies the masses against them. That won't happen until the masses are starving in the streets. We are a long way from that. Plan accordingly.

bidaskspread's picture

They should go upwards, they're not companies anymore, they are empires. Then there is so few of them that any competition out there to drop the salary and bonus is limited. When was the last time you heard a CEO let go because he made to much? Now think of how many lower level employees were let go because they made to much so they brought in a entry level employee to replace them at a fraction of the cost. Look at Microsoft search for a, CEO, having a tough time finding one when there 1000s of people looking for work. If you want their wages to come down, break up the empires.

Clowns on Acid's picture

The Fed is being propped up....

insanelysane's picture

Gas stations do run on very low margins so as the price of gas rises the mom and pop operations can't afford to restock the tanks.  

If you have a 10,000 gallon tank and it cost you $3.40/gal then it is $34,000.  If you sell it for $3.50, you make $1,000 to live on.  However, if you need to refill the 10,000 gallon tank at $3.50/gallon, you need to plow your profit back in.

nasdaq99's picture

Time to start the store closing watch:

SHLD 2500 stores

JCP 1100 stores

RSH 5500 stores

CWTR 350 stores

BAMM 250 stores

Anybody else on teh banana peel?


I'm seeing 150 year old stores and business closing everywhere.  Hall mark Cards, Jewelry stores, Fur stores, Lumber Yards, on and on and on.  Amazon & Ebay killing them all off. 

mkkby's picture

Last few times I went to any of these stores (years ago) I saw NOTHING I wanted at any price.  I don't understand why anyone bothers shopping any more.  The selection is so bad I'm forced to shop online for anything but the basics. 

The stores suck so bad you have to shop online to find anything decent.

Winston Churchill's picture

Those commercial leasing REITS should be be good to short about now.

Many have to refinance about now.

A toxic mixture.

hairball48's picture

Yeah, and refi into a rising rate environment...on top of increasing on-line sales.

Toxic indeed.

czardas's picture

The JCP  in the mall was bare. I talked to a buyer who said they took a chance and severely limited their Christmas orders...and it worked.  The mall, though, was a disaster.  Christmas Eve I parked close, walked in, bought a few things without a wait then left with little traffic - unbelievable.   The only busy stores were Apple, Google, coffee and food.  It was ghost town in clothing, shoe, book stores (last one just announced a closing) and jewelry.  

A new form will have to arise - one that Sears is experimenting with.  The store is a gathering place (food, etc) and merchandise is display only. All buying is done on the internet and delivered (by drone? LOL)   The guy I talke to said it may be possible that actually visiting a store will be a novelty in the future.  Not sure if that works but it has to beat what's currently in place.

Headbanger's picture

Wait til the sheeple realize that they can live just fine without buying all the shit they don't really need.

nickels's picture

Get rid of your phones and cable tv- keep the internet. Use Skype (2.99 all you can eat/month) and Mohu antenna ( in attic mount or roof $150. one time purchase gets you 10-20 digital network and public tv within 60 miles crystal clear) If you've still got time on your hands get Netfilx for $9. per month and watch every movie and tv show ever made. Otherwise your throwing away about $200. per month. ( Ok, this only works if you're at home, office, or at a wifi spot. If you HAVE to talk while driving, get a tracphone but try not to crash into me) Happy New Year.

SilverFish's picture

That will work for the time being, but the inflation will quickly flow to all of the things you mentioned above.


"THEY GOt YA BY THE BALLS!!!!" - Carlin

hairball48's picture

I did some of that. I got rid of TV going on 3 years ago. I have a good cable connection (internet only) for all my entertainment as well as shopping, banking, personal communications, etc. And yeah I agree on Netflix, a good deal at $8.99/month. A lot of good shows and no commercials to insult you :)

I lead a pretty simple, frugal life. Semi-retired boomer. I don't need a lot of "stuff" to live a full life. I live in some of America's most beautiful country, if you like "outdoors stuff" :)

I read ZeroHedge for "indoor" fun!!


Yeeeehawwww for us rednecks!!

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Went antenna only last year.  Am cancelling land line this year.

I hope they die a horrible death

Ying-Yang's picture

"I talked to a buyer who said they took a chance and severely limited their Christmas orders...and it worked"

Sadly if you don't have merchandise to sell you don't have gross profit to pay expenses which remain the same. Sounds like a "Going Out of Business" plan to me.

corporatewhore's picture

The sears experimentation was ron johnson's bankrupt implementation at jcp. 

If you went behind the walls at jcp to the basement or wherever they normally kept inventory, there wasn't any.  Everything was out for this make or break season.

the loyal employees can now expect to be laid off and stores shuttered.  After all, doesn't human resources always say no one commits suicide over the holidays.  Idiots.

Jumbotron's picture

Pretty soon the malls will be nothing more than a place to play a zombie apocolypse scneario in Airsoft battles.

U4 eee aaa's picture

Could it be the JCP purchasing manager was a ZH reader? ;)

dark pools of soros's picture

where do you live??  there are some malls that will stay flooded till everything else crumbles...  (KOP)



nasdaq99's picture

WINA has 986 stores that average $14,000/qtr gross yet somehow they're producing ROE of 62%.  Used sports equipment.

yogibear's picture

"I'm seeing 150 year old stores and business closing everywhere.  Hall mark Cards, "

Hall Mark is dead. All the traffic is now at Dollar Tree stores where you can get cards and wrappings/balloons for $1.

The tradional stores are breaking down.

Huge layoffs coming.

uno's picture

2 malls in Atlanta area were empty, easy parking close to entrances, from Black Friday afternoon through the week before xmas.

PrecipiceWatching's picture

CHRISTmas sales down here as well.

corporatewhore's picture

what is interesting is the divergence in the consumer public.  They want the high quality but refuse to pay for it.  Ultimately budget wins.  They don't seem to get, as they debate the purchase, that the $1 price tag gets you what you pay for.

It's like the suburban idiot housewife calling for automobile windshield replacement glass on her 2014 range rover.  she wants "dealer" glass for $250 or less.  Little does she realize that at that price, the servicer is going to the junkyard, ripping out the junk for $25 and installing for $250.  She thinks she got a steal.  Idiot.

mkkby's picture

Really?  Go to the dollar tree store and you'll see a lot of useful items that other stores would charge $20-40 for.  I couldn't find some kitchen items AT ALL at other stores, or they were insanely marked up.

It's pretty interesting to find what you need, then go to the register and pull out a buck, and fish for change to pay the sales tax.

dark pools of soros's picture

you can whittle your own spoons from dead branches for free

tempo's picture

Is brick/mortor loss vs internet/ups gains a zero sum relative to employment?

GetZeeGold's picture



Don't opt for the overnight way in hell they can deliver on that.

Rainman's picture

Quit buying all their leftover junk and save 100%

SWRichmond's picture

The real bubble has been useless consumerist Chinese junk.  Remember the videos of workers "trashing out" repo'd houses in California?

czardas's picture

It's not just simply because it was built in China.  That's the exact mistake made by those who talked about "cheap" Japanese electronic products only to discover that Japan's quality was the world's best.  Yeah, there's junk out there.  When you get down to it if you have an apple, a fire and water you can "live".  What needs changing is the idea that we need excess junk - the notion of quantity over quality.  But that's what out economic system encourages - mindless buying as the basis of economy. 

ZeroPoint's picture

Careful. You might end up on yet another list talking like that.


SF beatnik's picture

Like MKKBY says, some of the dollar store stuff is useful.

I say buy low now while you still can. Soon it might be the ten dollar store.

Bokkenrijder's picture

So where's the INflation?

Bobbyrib's picture

I don't know, but I may need to go to the grocery store or gas station today. /sarcasm.

GetZeeGold's picture



My gas station is now selling gas in liters.......luckily my cell phone has a calculator....but the the sign at the pump informs me it might not be a good idea to use it.

zerozulu's picture

7 pints in a gallon of gas will help fight inflation.

PrecipiceWatching's picture

Inflation?  Its everywhere.

In the things that people really need, and throughout the other 51 weeks of the year.

j0nx's picture

TVs are much more expensive than they were last year. The only cheap shit I see is just that: cheap shit that nobody wants. There have been very little decent sales this year from where I sit other than black Friday. This year black Friday sales were pretty damn crazy but they ended that shit quick and have never come close to matching it since. I'll wait it out and see but these so called after Christmas sales are gimmicks to unload shit that nobody wants anyway.

PrecipiceWatching's picture


Toilet paper never goes on a Blowout Sale.


Whoa Dammit's picture

Just buy Needful Things (reference to the Stephen King novel).  :-D.