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Christmas Sales Dry Up

Written by Gary North on December 13, 2011

It appears that the Christmas season will be a bad one for retailers. Sales have slowed to a crawl.

After early bird discounts fueled a Black Friday buying boom, retailers are seeing sales dry up halfway through the holiday sales period, a consumer survey completed Sunday showed. The trend may force discounts as deep as 70 percent on coats and flat panel TVs as Christmas Eve approaches.

Forty percent of consumers are completely done with their holiday shopping at this point, up from just 28 percent who were finished at the same time last year, according to the America’s Research Group/UBS Christmas Forecast Survey.

This will force retailers to cut prices before the season ends. This is good news for customers.

Smart shopper are not spending. They are looking for deals, waiting for panic to hit retailers.

“You could push them over the edge at this point with a 60 to 70 percent discount,” said Britt Beemer, CEO of ARG, who has been conducting the phone survey and marketing research for 27 years. “But most would probably use a credit card, as their budgets are depleted.”

(A note for old-timers. Does the name “Britt Beemer” resonate? Come on. Dig down deep. How about Brace Beemer? Remember? He was the voice of the radio Lone Ranger in the 1940s and early 1950s. What about Britt? Who was the Lone Ranger’s nephew? Dan Reid. Who was his son? Britt Reid. Who was Britt Reid at night? The Green Hornet. Britt Beemer is Brace Beemer’s cousin. I asked him that about 30 years ago. I re-checked today.)

With the year’s largest profit margins riding on Christmas, some retailers are in trouble. This was supposed to be a recovery Christmas. Not yet, it isn’t.

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