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 Target.com and Kohls.com, 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.