Reaching the Holiday Procrastinators
By Tom Ryan
With about one-third of holiday sales estimated to come in the
final ten days before Christmas, retailers are pulling out all the stops to
attract last-minute shoppers, mostly in the form of extended hours and
While this year’s Black Friday weekend saw a ramp-up in extended hours,
store hours in the days before Christmas are likewise increasing for many.
Toys "R" Us will remain open for 88 hours in a row starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday
and continuing until 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. It’s the first time that all
Toys "R" Us stores nationwide will stay open around the clock during the final
countdown to Christmas.
Starting last Friday, JC Penney will be open until
midnight every day through Dec. 23, with the exception of Sunday, when stores
will close at 11 p.m. On Christmas Eve, Penney will be open from 7 a.m. to
6 p.m. Fourteen Macy’s stores will be open for 83 consecutive hours, starting
at 7 a.m. Tuesday, up from 12 stores last year.
"The demand was there, so we’re rising to meet it," Macy’s spokeswoman
Milinda Martin told the Los Angeles Times. "It offers customers the opportunity
to get their holiday shopping done in a less harried manner, so we’re excited
Beyond extra hours, heavy promotions were being touted on "Super
also appears to be becoming a more heavily marketed day. Many stores had doorbuster
deals and early hours reminiscent of Black Friday. So far, however, stores
appear to have maintained a smart balance between price and inventory after
two years of miscalculations, according to retail observers. In 2008, overly-aggressive
inventory positions led to steep markdowns as the economy quickly worsened. In
2009, overly-lean inventories led to shortages and missed opportunities.
"The magic number is going to be 50 percent off," said Marshal Cohen,
chief industry analyst at NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y. "Retailers
are holding the line there."
For its part, many online retailers participated
in the first "Free Shipping
Day" on Friday.
The average person still had more than half of his holiday
shopping left to do by the second week of December and 37 million people (16.9
percent) had not even started their shopping as of late last week, according
to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
Discussion Questions: What’s the best way for retailers to attract last-minute
shoppers? Are you likewise sensing the promotional cadence is more balanced
- Stores extend hours for final holiday push – The Los Angeles
roll out bargains for last-minute shoppers – The Detroit News
Saturday Deals Offered by JC Penney, Toys R Us, and Best Buy – City