Retailers expect a strong Christmas


CLARKONOMICS: Retailers are expecting a strong Christmas, which signals that the early deals we’ve become accustomed to in years past may not materialize this upcoming holiday season.

The Los Angeles Times  reports that retail analysts expect sales to rise by 3.5% this Christmas. That’s in spite of continued high unemployment and troubling financial news both domestically and internationally.

So I’m guessing the deals will come later this season if at all. Of course, we’ll still have the Black Friday doorbusters, but this will not be a “promotional Christmas,” as retailers like to say, with early deals all over the place.

November and December historically account for 40% of all yearly sales at retail stores. In fact, Black Friday literally refers to the day of the year when retailers traditionally went from being in the red to being in the black. So the industry would lose money from January through much of November, and then they’d make all their money for the year in that compressed period of just a little over a month.

Today, Black Friday has a different meaning to us, indicating all those bonanzas of a deal that are brag worthy. Speaking of that, my young producer Joel stayed up all night after Thanksgiving in a Wal-Mart to buy an HDTV several years ago. He and a couple of buddies arrived in the store at 2 a.m., and they were finally able to make their purchases at 5 a.m.

As for me, I don’t do Black Friday. I guess I value my sleep more than staying up all night!

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