‘Tis the season for retailers from all over to present their best sales and promotions, only so they can reel in all the shoppers. With the holiday’s right around the corner, marketers are hoping for a better turn out this year as compared to 2008’s sharp decrease in sales, which caused a number of retailers to scale back the number of stores they operated. Others were forced to shut their doors for good as a result of bankrupcy such as Circuit City. Retail experts foresee that this holiday shopping season will ring in more sales than last year – but that doesn’t mean much, considering last year was the worst holiday shopping season in 40 years. Experts say this year’s hot ticket items will be cost-effective and useful. That includes: home improvement tools, indoor and outdoor gift cards, Barbie, Tonka Trucks, GPS navigation systems, blackberry devices, and television sets. Customers are being persuaded to shop early and often, since retailers cut back on inventory supplies because of poor sales predictions. Hence, they won’t be stocking their shelves as much as previous years.
It was hard to predict if this year’s Black Friday extravaganza was going to be a success or a flop, but it seems that things got off to a great start. According to retail reports, in store and online sales were started earlier in 2009 and were slightly up over last year. Most retailers reported strong sales with laptops, TVs and Zhu-Zhu pets proving the most popular. Last year retailers saw a 3.4 percent drop in sales, but so far this year there has only been a 1 percent decline and many of the stores are reporting that Black Friday 2009 was a success.
According to a report from TIME, the biggest reason why retailers saw an increase in sales for Black Friday 2009 was because the sales started earlier than ever this year. Some retailers opened their doors as early as midnight; the normal opening time is 6 a.m. This allowed for a more steady flow of shoppers.
In a recent survey on household spending, the Conference Board reported that the average U.S. household plans to spend $390 on holiday shopping this year. This is an astounding 43 percent lower than the $683 per-person shopping budget that the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted in its 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.
Retail forecasters do not call for ice-cold sales, but they do not call for sizzling hot sales, either. The general consensus seems to be this year’s holiday sales will not see the flat rates from last year, but will be no closer to the successful figures from 2007.
Vicky Hoover is a fourth-year student majoring in liberal studies with majors in journalism and education. She can be reached at VH608753@wcupa.edu