Actual Performance May Vary
By George Anderson
How are retailers doing this holiday season?
The answer to that question depends on whom you ask.
The National Retail Federation said retailers got off to a strong start over the Black Friday weekend and the group is expecting sales for the season to come in around six points higher than last year.
The International Council of Shopping Centers has been less bullish, projecting when-all-is-said-and-done that sales for the holiday will be up three to three-and-a-half percent.
Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “I think it’s a so-so Christmas. If I were retailers, I’d be a little worried.”
Whether sales are up a lot or simply a little, one thing that most seem to agree on is that sales this holiday season have been largely driven by promotions. The net result, some say, may be that while sales numbers will look good, profits will be disappointing.
Mr. Beemer said there are still a lot of opportunities left for retailers to drive sales even with less than a week left before Christmas. His company’s research shows that 14 percent of holiday shoppers have not even started yet.
Moderator’s Comment: What is your sense of what is actually happening this holiday season? What lessons are there to be learned from all the competing
projections in the press? –
George Anderson – Moderator