Quoted – Late holiday boost a welcome gift for retailers – Houston Chronicle

Late holiday boost a welcome gift for retailers

Last year was not one to remember for most retailers, but many of them at least had a solid holiday season finish.

A robust December helped boost overall sales for the 2009 holiday season —the months of November and December — to a higher-than- expected 1.8 percent increase over last year, according to figures released Thursday by the International Council of Shopping Centers.

While 1.8 percent may seem modest, it is a great improvement over the 2008 holiday season when sales fell by 5.6 percent.

Also Thursday, many chains released sales results for December, and among the chains showing year-over-year increases were Macy’s, Target, Costco, Sears and Nordstrom.

“Large retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Toys R Us and Amazon helped drive December sales by offering very good discounts,” said Scott Testa, professor of business at Cabrini College near Philadelphia.


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Quoted – The holiday shopping season keeps on ringing – Houston Chronicle

Assortment of gift cards
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The holiday shopping season keeps on ringing

For retailers, this week and next are expected to bring strong customer traffic as consumers hunt for discounts.

Nationally, retailers saw a 2.3 increase sales for the week ending Dec. 26 compared with last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.

Gift cards

Many consumers are in stores this week using gift cards they got for Christmas.

Retailers like gift cards because they drive customer traffic and people often spend more than the value of the card once they’re in the store, said Scott Testa, professor of business at Cabrini College near Philadelphia.

Consumers regularly lose gift cards, he noted, which also benefits a chain’s bottom line.

“My advice to consumers is use it or lose it,” Testa said.


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Quoted – Shop local: Think Main Street – not the mall – for holiday gifts – Enterprisenews.com

Latrobe, Pennsylvania
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Shop local: Think Main Street – not the mall – for holiday gifts

This holiday season, steer your car – or, better yet, your feet – toward your downtown shopping district to get those gifts.

Not only will you find more unique items than at the mall, you’ll be helping your community and neighbors thrive, saving on gas, and protecting the environment, Main Street business advocates say.

Support the community

Local business owners are a vital part of a community. They buy supplies locally, hire local services and employees, and donate a larger percentage of profits to local events and smaller organizations than box stores, said Lauren Adkins, director of field services at the National Trust Main Street Center. Owners sit on parent-teacher organizations, school boards and civic groups. A bonus: A vital downtown increases a home’s assessed value and resale price.

Save on gas

Your downtown shopping district is more centrally located and requires less gas to get to than driving to a mall, which typically is located on the outskirts of town, said Scott Testa, a business administration professor at Cabrini College in Pennsylvania who writes about retail.


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Quoted – Sales rise, retailers optimistic – The Chronicle

Sales rise, retailers optimistic


Retailers report stronger Black Friday sales this year than last year and they are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the Christmas season.

“So far, so good,” said Debbi Baker, store manager of Christopher & Banks, a women’s clothing store at Findlay Village Mall. “My Black Friday was better (than last year’s).”

David Lazar, store manager of Elder-Beerman at the mall, was cheerier.

“We are happy. We are very, very happy,” with Elder-Beerman’s sales numbers last weekend, he said.

National and regional research companies reported slight sales increases last weekend from a year ago.

In Ottawa, Walmart Manager Shane Sidle is patient.

“Things have been steady, steady with last year,” he said. Sales will probably strengthen in the 10 days before Christmas, Sidle said.

“The last couple of years, that is how it has been,” he said.

The recession has lowered retailers’ sales expectations, and rightly so.

“Consumers are very leery about spending money over the holidays,” said Scott Testa, business administration professor at Cabrini College, Radnor, Pa.

Retailers are coping by spreading out the shopping season. Christopher & Banks at the mall got its Christmas season inventory in early November, three weeks earlier than usual, said Baker, the manager. She even got resort wear, outfits women will wear on trips in the next season. Baker does not usually see those until mid-December.

“They kind of bulked me up, and whatever I have got, it has to go,” she said.

In Fostoria, Kmart Assistant Manager Bridget Weslow said the store’s layaway policy “is what is keeping people coming in.”

Testa said people this year are seeking more practical gifts, like tires, tools and car wax instead of, say, jewelry.

But flat screen TVs and video game systems are still hot items, Sidle said.

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Quoted – How to Get the Biggest Savings this Holiday Season – Denver Post

A typical Best Buy store at the Ravenswood 101...
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Stores are stocking less inventory this holiday season, so Traci Lunsford decided to start her shopping last month.

“I will receive the bill in November and have it paid off by December,” says the Thornton resident, who has been using coupons and daily deals from Upromise.com to help curtail her holiday spending.

Marketing experts say zealous coupon clippers and tenacious bargain hunters such as Lunsford will reap the greatest savings this holiday season.

But they also warn that shoppers are unlikely to find the usual last-minute price cuts in the days before Christmas.

Why? To compensate for soft sales throughout the past year, retailers are keeping inventories low to prevent stock from languishing on shelves. Black Friday and Cyber Monday — the weekdays immediately after Thanksgiving — promise shoppers the deepest discounts.

“The more expensive the item . . . the more open the store will be to negotiating,”says Scott Testa, a business-administration professor at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.

“Consumers have nothing to lose,” he adds. “If you have money to spend, you will get as good a deal as you will ever see.”

Wal-Mart and Best Buy both advertise price-matching. To take advantage of it, shoppers should arm themselves with mailers and inserts before hitting the stores.

“Bring your laptop into the store,” Testa says. “Show them the ad you found on Amazon with a $999 price compared to their $1,050 and ask them if there is something they can do for you.”




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