Retailers stingy with the deals this season

December 20, 2010

You might have seen in the news this morning that fewer retailers are offering big holiday deals and discounts this season.

Apparently, retailers have been able to avoid the steep discounts that eat their profits, because people are willing to spend a bit more again. For example,

Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has raised prices on hundreds of toys, and Saks has cut back the duration of some promotions and applied them to fewer brands than in 2009. While discounts of as much as 65 percent could still be found at some U.S. retailers on the last shopping weekend before Christmas, others were holding the line at 40 percent.

So, what does this mean? That retailers know that buyers will have to buy holiday gifts anyway, regardless if there’s a discount or not? That they’re not willing to risk their year-end profit with promotions? Or, that they’ve planned for the season well, getting customers into the store earlier in the season with Black Friday deals?

I myself didn’t do any shopping on what’s now called Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas, but I did go the day before, on Friday, and the day after, early Sunday morning. At the mall Friday, I found some good deals, but nothing incredible, and few deals at the higher-end stores. At the discount store I visited Sunday, many things were already marked half-off, so I stocked up on things like wrapping paper and Christmas-themed gifts.

Personally, I don’t like paying full price for gifts (who does?) but I know that there are some gifts on which I won’t be able to get much of a deal, if any, and those are usually the quality gifts I don’t mind paying full price for, anyway. But holiday shopping, just like most things, could turn out to be an example of plan ahead, or pay the price. Or at least a little bit extra.

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