Nov. 28, 2013
NEW YORK – They’re busy setting up shop at this holiday market in downtown New York. Amid all the drilling and unpacking, merchants are hoping for a profitable year.
But not everyone is so optimistic.
In midtown Manhattan the decorations are starting to go up. At Radio City Music Hall the Rockettes are practicing. Down the street, they’re trimming the huge Christmas tree. But for all those festivities, the consumers are cautious and Wall Street is worried.
Morgan Stanley retail analyst Kimberly Greenberger fears this could be the worst holiday shopping season since the depths of the financial crisis.
“Consumers have really had to tighten their belts,” Greenberger says. “There is a higher rate of payroll tax and personal income. Disposable growth has slowed this year so there’s a lot of belt tightening going on. What we’ve found out is retailers are actually having to discount prices in order to drive sales this holiday season.”
Bad for the bottom line, but great for early season bargain hunters.Target is offering a $20 discount on the new iPad Air. Wal Mart is promising $98 flat-screen TVs.
There are deep discounts, too, on popular toys.
“The Furby Boom, which is a great product that we’re going to sell an awful lot of this year, this is going to be $29—one hour guarantee at our 6 p.m. event Thankgsiving Day,” Steve Bratspies, executive vice president of Walmart U.S., said.
Retailers are opening earlier than ever this Turkey Day.
Kmart is opening its doors at 6 a.m. and staying open 41 hours straight.
Move over Black Friday. The buzzword this year—“Brown Thursday”.
“Brown Thursdays is not an appealing term,” writer Michael Musto said. “Something about it is not aesthetically pleasing. But if it represents a lot of buying, and things that will help the economy, bring it on. Bring on White Wednesdays or Teal Tuesday.”
Whether it’s Black Friday or Teal Tuesday, shoppers we talked to say they’ll buy-if the price is right. As long as the market is going up people will spend money.
The goal for retailers this holiday is to make sure the price is right without making the consumer scream.