Shoppers who are feeling good about the economy and spending more than expected on items like kitchen gadgets, toys and coats could make this the best holiday season in several years.
Anne D’Innocenzio of the Associated Press had the story:
That’s good news for retailers, some of which have had few reasons of late to be merry. But there’s no question that stores need to keep adapting to how people shop as spending moves online. Customer sentiment could shift again based on how they feel the tax overhaul is affecting them. Tax cuts mean some shoppers may have more money in their pockets, but they could opt to save it instead of spend it.
Experts have issued rosy forecasts for the season. Shoppers seem to be in the mood as unemployment is at 17-year low and consumer sentiment has reached its highest level since 2000.
“I feel confident and optimistic about spending this year,” said Jorge Nova of Miami as the shopping began on Thanksgiving weekend, when he lined up at Best Buy and bought a 65-inch TV. “I don’t really have a clear budget. It’s been a good year for me.”
Shoppers are spending at a pace not seen since the Great Recession, says Craig Johnson, president of retail consulting group Customer Growth Partners. Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, predicts retail sales will meet or exceed the trade group’s holiday forecast.
Natasha Bach of Fortune looked at post-Christmas deals:
Macy’s is offering an extra 20 percent off sale items or $10 off purchases of $25 or more. Simply enter the promo code “JOY” to redeem online. Macy’s is also offering free shipping on all online orders over $49, with the exception of furniture and mattresses.
There are discounts in just about every department on Amazon for the rest of the month. But some of the biggest discounts are in electronics and grocery, where select items are up to 70 percent off.
Through December 27, Kohl’s is offering up to 70 percent off clearance items and an extra 25 percent off online orders with the code “CHEERFUL25.” The retailer also has specific deals on a range of items, including $10 off when you spend $40 or more on intimates, 25 percent off select Nike and Converse shoes, and 60 percent off women’s pajamas.
Lindsey Rupp of Bloomberg interviewed the Santa at Bloomingdale’s in New York to gauge reaction:
And what is it the more mature New Yorker wants for Christmas? World peace. He has fielded the request for years — even from kids — but has noticed a recent surge. Blame North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program, the terrorist attacks in Manhattan this year, tax reform, subway glitches, climate change, the stress of the season, any or all of it. Rembisz said his customers are more than ever looking for something that feels safe, and hopeful.
“People are more concerned, more aware. They’ve seen more things.” He said he responds to them in a fashion that acknowledges the fleeting moment of pretense. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do that,” he’ll say, “or if everybody felt that way?”
Rembisz has been pulling Santa duty on and off since he was in his 20s, at shopping malls, corporate events, house visits, even in a musical rendition of “Miracle on 34th Street.” With his background in the theater and as a voice-over actor, not to mention the fluffy white beard he grows for the job, he makes a convincing St. Nick.