Snowy Weather Clouds Holiday Outlook
By Tom Ryan
that blanketed much of the eastern U.S. washed out “Super Saturday” for
many stores in those regions and apparently caused some retailers to rethink
final-days marketing strategies.
The last Saturday
before Christmas is said to be the biggest shopping day of the year an
estimated $15 billion spent. The Northeastern corridor, stretching from
Virginia to Massachusetts, accounts for at least 25 percent of those sales, The
Wall Street Journal reported. Still, many reports showed the sales
over the weekend were solid across other parts of the country.
To combat any
lost sales, some retailers may extend promotions into Monday and Tuesday
to attract shoppers, NRF spokeswoman Ellen Davis told Bloomberg.
as well as Borders extended store hours in states affected by the storm
through Wednesday. “The majority of our stores in hard hit areas will open
one hour earlier than originally planned and remain open until midnight,” Troy
Risch, its executive vice president of stores told the Journal.
Some retailers, such as Macy’s, already had planned to be open round-the-clock
in select regions during the final week.
With many retailers
touting online specials early Saturday morning with guaranteed Christmas
delivery, online sales are also expected to benefit by being able to reach
snowed-in shoppers. Many are offering extra incentives for procrastinators. Amazon,
on Tuesday, extended free one-day shipping on all Kindle orders for shipment
in the continental United States made on December 23rd.
A few speculated
whether the storm could increase the importance of post-Christmas sales.
On Monday, Target said all stores nationwide will be open from 7 a.m. on
December 26 while JC Penney said stores would open at 5 a.m. – the earliest
opening on the day after Christmas in its history.
Council of Shopping Centers stuck by its estimate calling for holiday sales
to rise one percent.
“At this time
of year, bad weather does not generally reduce demand,” said chief economist
Michael Niemira told Dow Jones Newswire. “It shifts it to another
time. The rest of this week will be crucial.”
The National Retail Federation
likewise kept its forecast that retail sales would fall one percent this
holiday season, noting that any drop-off in the East won’t overly hamper
large retailers’ national sales.
Scott Krugman, spokesman for
NRF, also said the online option helps buffer any shortfalls.
“Retailers have really invested
in creating a true multi-channel strategy and this is when it comes in
handy,” Mr. Krugman said. “If this had happened ten years ago, it would
be a lot worse.”
Questions: How do you think last weekend’s storms affected holiday selling?
How can post-Christmas selling and online be used to the best advantage?
Overall, what last-days strategies do you think optimize holiday selling?
- Retail: Last
Minute Shopping May Counter Snow – Bloomberg
- Buyers Undeterred
by Snow Storm – The Wall Street Journal
Dig Out And Say Christmas May Be Salvaged – Dow Jones Newswire/The
Wall Street Journal