Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Smaller discounts, smaller January sales?

January 13, 2010

discountCheck out consumers finding retailers offering smaller discounts in the days after Christmas — a possible drag on January sales.

According to a survey by America’s Research Group, 68.4 percent of consumers surveyed said they saw smaller discounts this year than last year after Christmas.

Meanwhile, 40.1 percent of those surveyed said they felt worse than they did a year ago about their financial situation, which means those smaller discounts may fail to keep shoppers buying well into January, said Britt Beemer, America’s Research Group founder.

“You never want the negative numbers to ever get above 25 percent,” Beemer said. “I just think it is a reflection of how frugal the consumer is and is going to remain in the marketplace,” he said.

Retail chain store sales beat expectations in December, but industry experts see the momentum fading early in 2010 as consumers return to saving their money.

With visions of 70 percent off and 80 percent off still dancing in their heads from massive clearance sales after the 2008 Christmas season, consumer may find saving money is easier in the face of less compelling bargains.

Also in the basket:

Britain to set up ombudsman for grocers, suppliers

Cadbury defenders step up fight as Kraft closes in

Luxury aims high, and less high, to keep shoppers

Financo’s fiery forum debates retail future (WWD, subscription required)

Bloomingdale’s outlets said in the works (WWD, subscription required)

(Photo: Reuters)

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