This article titled “Still shopping for last-minute holiday presents? You are not the only one” was written by Jana Kasperkevic in New York, for theguardian.com on Thursday 24th December 2015 12.00 UTC
Shopping for the last-minute gifts? You may not be the only one.
About 40% of the season’s sales take place in the 10 days leading up to Christmas Day, according to National Retail Federation (NRF). The federation also found that 90% of holiday shoppers still had some last-minute shopping to do. Just 10% of Americans were done with their holiday shopping by mid-December.
“While we witnessed an early start to the holiday shopping season and an extraordinary Thanksgiving weekend, some of the busiest shopping days of the year are still to come,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “We expect retailers will be competitive on price and value options in the final stretch, including extended store hours and in-store events, as well as online deals and free shipping offers. Even an unseasonably warm winter cannot keep last-minute shoppers from putting off their holiday purchases any more.”
As Christmas Eve approached, retailers did their best to attract potential consumers. During the week leading to Christmas Day, Kohl’s was open 24/7. Toys ‘R’ Us extended its hours. Other retailers encouraged their consumer to order online and pick up in store.
Super Saturday – as the last Saturday before Christmas is known – was expected to be the busiest shopping day of the season. Last year, Super Saturday saw sales reach $9bn, surpassing Black Friday.
“This weekend was a really good weekend for many of the retailers … [but] a fair amount of the traffic was driven by promotions,” Steve Barr, US retail and consumer sector leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), told CNBC this week. “I do not think the overall results are going to come in at the levels that were anticipated early in the season.”
This year’s sales were expected to rise 3.7% compared to last year, according to NFR.
If this year’s sales do not meet expectations, it might not be because people are not shopping, but rather because of the really low holiday prices.
“Lower prices might be bad news for retailers. But they are good news for retailers’ customers, who are getting great value for the prices they pay,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the NRF.
PwC also considers consumers the real winners this holiday season and expects the deals to continue well into the new year.
“In the end the weather, all the factors that we’ve been talking about for the past few months, all just ended up coming to a head,” he said. “Once we get past the new year the retailers will have one objective, and that is to clear the floor almost at any reasonable cost.”
This is especially true for winter gear and wear, considering the warm weather that US has enjoyed this holiday season. New York City is predicted to see the temperature rise to 72F on Thursday.
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