The Last Days Before Christmas May Be Busy, But Unpredictable, For Retailers

by MR Magazine Staff

Hoping for a strong finish after a tepid start to the crucial holiday season, retailers are gearing up for a last-minute rush of shoppers. But due to the timing of Christmas this year, 11th-hour turnout is less predictable than usual. The last Saturday before Christmas, typically dubbed Super Saturday, is a big shopping day. But because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, the last Saturday before the holiday is Christmas Eve — a day when consumers are often busy with family or holiday preparation. So Super Saturday was early this year, falling on Dec. 17. With such a lengthy gap between the final major shopping weekend and Christmas Day, analysts say there are still plenty of procrastinating shoppers who may hit stores this week. “This is a huge week,” said Best Buy Chief Executive Hubert Joly, who noted that a wide swath of potential shoppers are still trying to figure out what to buy as gifts. “This is an opportunity to serve customers.” Joly said he expects that one day this week will end up as the second biggest sales day of the year, second only to Black Friday. A final rush of shoppers could lift the holiday season, a make-or-break period in which retailers can sometimes rake in 40% of their annual sales. So far, the results have been decidedly ho-hum: In November, retail sales grew by only 0.1% from October, compared with forecasts of 0.3% or more. Read more at Los Angeles Times.