Retailers Plan to Limit Holiday Discounts
It doesn’t take any particular talent to give things away. But doing so makes it pretty difficult to turn a profit, so retailers are planning on playing it a bit closer to the vest this holiday season when it comes to discounting prices, according to a Wall Street Journal piece.
Merchants are trying a variety of approaches to avoid getting into a game of discount tit-for-tat this year.
Walmart has already made its Christmas pledge to offer consumers the lowest price for the season on the items they buy, regardless of when they make the purchase.
Kmart and Sears are offering Shop Your Way Rewards points that are equal to five percent back on all purchases made using their Sears credit card. The program runs through the end of the year at Kmart and until Jan. 28, 2012 for Sears.
"We know budgets are tight, so we want to reward our customers by offering them ways to stretch their dollar," said Dave Friedman, SVP and president, marketing at Sears Holdings.
According to the National Retail Federation, the largest percentage of consumers (66 percent) plan to shop in discount stores for the holidays, followed by department stores (57 percent), grocery (49 percent), online (47 percent), clothing (35 percent), electronics (32 percent), drug (21 percent) and catalog (14 percent).
"In 2009 it was all about personal and practical and last year consumers wanted to treat their loved ones to something special — this year, it’s a little bit of both," said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director, BIGresearch, in a press release. "Limited budgets and a desire to make the most out of gift-giving will drive consumers to shop at a variety of retailers while also thinking outside the box for great gift ideas."
While budgets are undoubtedly tight, consumers have demonstrated a resilience when it comes to retail purchases.
John Reese, founder of the investment firm Validea, wrote on the NASDAQ site, "Sales increased again by an impressive 1.1 percent in September, according to the newest Commerce Department data, and are now 19 percent higher than their recessionary low, and 4.5 percent higher than their pre-recessionary high."
- Don’t Expect Merrier Discounts – The Wall Street Journal
- Walmart Guarantees Lowest Prices for Christmas – RetailWire
- Sears and Kmart Offer Five Times Rewards Points – Sears Holdings/PRNewswire
- Is It Time To Bet On The US Consumer? – NASDAQ
- Eager to Strike a Deal While It’s Hot, Holiday Shoppers Plan Plenty of Self-Gifting This Holiday Season – National Retail Federation
Discussion Questions: Will discounting activity be higher or lower this year than it has in recent years? Do recent positive retail sales numbers make you more or less positive about the upcoming holiday sales season?