Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday boom or holiday bust for retailers?

I went to my local mall at 5:00 AM this morning. No, I have never done this before but some younger family members insisted on going to the sales and I am the only one up at 4:30 AM and was drafted to drive them. It wasn't incredibly busy but the people (mainly women) who were going into the stores in groups of two looked highly determined. I was reading this morning that holiday sales are starting early but retailers fear that consumers will not buy as much this year:

Experts predict this could be the worst sales season since the early 1990s as Americans hit by a housing slump and credit crunch make do with fewer holiday gifts.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters data have forecast that retail sales at stores open at least a year could fall 2.2 percent for November compared with 4 percent growth last year.

Excluding expectations for growth at discounter Wal-Mart, the expected decline is a more precipitous 6.6 percent.

Me, I plan on saving money and my sanity this year by shopping at Black Friday at Amazon. There is no way I am going near a store again this holiday season, I hope, unless I am drafted. I do plan on spending a bit less this year, but not much. How about you, are you buying fewer gifts this year?


Blogger TallTim said...

Oh yes, the wife and I are cutting back a little. And I'll be shopping from my den.

8:57 AM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


"And I'll be shopping from my den."

Me too, I cannot understand the fun of running through stores looking for bargains but the gleam I saw in the eyes of the shoppers this morning tells me that I just don't get it.

9:01 AM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger Roman said...

My niece (23 years old) and I get together about once a month, shopping and lunch. During the holiday season it seems a bit more special to be with the crowds. At least 60% of my shopping will be online, it seems to be more each year.

9:42 AM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger HMT said...

My wife flipped through the huge batch of TG fliers in the paper then gave it to our neighbor who was planning on joining the fray this morning. We slept in late and I made french toast :)

We've already cut back pre-holiday season. Canceled a large kitchen remodel we had been planning, we did some smaller projects instead.

Everyone who was going to get a gift is still getting one and we're not planning on any kind of price adjustment due to economic climate.

9:45 AM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I might do some shopping on Dec 26th, other than that I'll be keeping a low profile.

10:22 AM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

I do most of my shoping in the next three weeks, and go online or realstore depending on the prices. I already got a nice camera for my wife (shhh) and am getting the coolest little Esquire guitar for my 14 year old daughter.

The economy has not touched my practice, and by blessed timing we had paid off some major bills, so we have some disposable.

I absolutely love to go out for one purchase on Christmas eve day. I put some fun holiday music on the ipod and hit a store. I ususally am just picking up a stocking stuffer, but I love getting out in the hustle for one gift. It is surreal and, well, interesting.

But I am not someone who enjoys shopping in and of itself, just when I find the right gift for someone.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.


10:33 AM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

Well, I always send food to my friends and relatives for the holidays. A nice smoked ham or turkey or brisket. Or all three. I sent my brother in Maine enough meat to feed his family for a month. I do this so that he can save money to buy presents for his kids.

But as for shopping, here is my recommendation. The third week in January is the after holiday clearance sale. Then you can find real discounts, as much as 60-70%, storewide. So what you do is make a list, buy presents, then put them in the closet and wait till December. It's a great way to buy a bunch of presents and save a lot of money.

That said, declining retail sales is a strong indication that the economy is headed into a severe recession. As bad as 2008 has been, with stocks down over 30% across the board, 2009 is going to be worse. And the effects will be global, lasting for years.

This is what happens when the biggest credit bubble in the history of the world bursts.

10:49 AM, November 28, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband was returning from Eucharistic adoration (you'd have to be Catholic to understand) this morning at 4 a.m. when he saw a long line of cars backed up on Kingston Pike, headed into the parking lot of the Farragut Kohl's. He said the long line of people on the sidewalk was held in check by police tape.


11:01 AM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

I have never done Black Friday but know some people who love the sport of it. I generally like to do one mall trip during the Christmas season when we don't need to buy anything, just to enjoy watching people while having a coffee. We usually end up using the time to point out pre- and teen behavior and dress to our kids - good and bad.

We aren't cutting back on gifts this year but we don't generally buy a lot of gifts anyway. Most of my buying has been online. I do have to take my daughter shopping a bit as she likes to see and touch things before buying. But on the other hand, she hates going to the mall - she finds it too noisy and "ugly" as she puts it. We try to stick to small stand-alone stores.

11:15 AM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Every year the National Association of Realtors comes out with dire predictions about how bad the shopping season is going to be, and every year we break records anyway. Sales might be down a bit this year, but we'll be fine.

12:45 PM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger gemma said...

Know what? We never ever ever have spent much on gifts...we do spend on Christmas Eve dinner and we always will...we host the family festivities and my husband is a food freak. Boneless prime and you name the sides and appetizers and baked goods....he goes on and on and always has and always will but gifts? Not so much and never has. We like the family and the food and the great connection as we mash the potatoes and set the table and ... well... you get it.

Doesn't matter what the papers print or what the talking heads spout...everyone will still have a Merry Christmas.

8:30 PM, November 28, 2008  
Blogger lovemelikeareptile said...

I'd be careful shopping on Amazon for expensive items, esp electronics.
Unless you read up on the Seller's policies before you Click on the Lowest Price, you could get stuck with a real predator. Some have " No Return " policies, no matter what.
Amazon allows these sellers on their site-- and send you boilerplate denials of Claims-- without even conducting investigations.
Great place for used books and used DVDs and CDS, but before you buy anything expensive-- be sure to check the Seller's Policies-- many have huge re-stocking fees ( even if you cancel an order within minutes after placing it )... and Amazon allows No Return policies --even for items that arrive damaged.
Amazon does not protect buyers-- they allow Seller's to set their own policies... and their A to Z guarantee is meaningless.

1:23 AM, November 29, 2008  
Blogger Brett Rogers said...

We're spending more than last year, by about $1,000. We have eight kids in a blended family. My wife and I started spending on Christmas in October, and with every paycheck period, we put money aside into a Christmas fund and spend from that.

This year was the first when my wife, who actually disdains shopping (unless it's for shoes), did the midnight shopping run and didn't come home until about 11 AM the morning of Black Friday. She went with her sister and our daughter. Had a great time, she said.

Ours is a mix of online shopping and local retail shopping. Depends on where the deals are.

3:58 PM, November 30, 2008  
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