Retail: Can The Day After Christmas Save Christmas?

It’s official now, Christmas was “lackluster” for retailers, despite the predicted “last minute” serge of shopping activity. From USAToday:

The International Council of Shopping Centers said same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year during the November-December period, appear to be coming in just below meager projections, though it said post-Christmas buying could help restore the shortfall.

Target indicated Tuesday that its sales may have fallen in December. The nation’s No. 2 retailer scaled back projections, saying same-store sales for the five weeks through Jan. 5 would range from a 1% increase to a 1% decrease vs. earlier expectations for a gain of 3% to 5%.

MasterCard said holiday spending — including credit, cash and checks — climbed a modest 2.4%, weighed by a slowdown in sales of women’s apparel.

So stores are once again trying to extend the holiday season. ShopperTrak RCT says the week after Christmas accounts for about 16% of total holiday sales.

Some of us have to work today, but we know many of you treat this as the “real” Black Friday. Will you be shopping today? Redeeming gift cards? Returning all the stupid crap your Aunt Suzie bought you? Stocking up on clearance holiday stuff?

Retailers hope post-Christmas sales can save the season


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Those are some fantastic Christmas cards there!

    Actually I barely spent any money this year, nor did my family. I spent more on obligatory gifts for co-workers and secret santas than anything else.

  2. cmdr.sass says:

    Retailers hand-wringing over lackluster holidays sales is as much an annual tradition as hanging ornaments on a Christmas tree.

  3. DrGirlfriend says:

    I have a gift card that I was hoping to use today, given the sales.

  4. madanthony says:

    I’m waiting for Target’s Christmas clearance stuff to hit 75% off before I go there.

    Most of the numbers seem to indicate that sales were flat, instead of improving as stores had hoped. Which is disappoiting to the stores, but doesn’t suggest to me that the economy is doing all that bad. Given gas prices and real estate, I would have expected a drop, so flat is better than I would have thought.

  5. punkrawka says:

    What’s a serge?


  6. Lewis says:
  7. I admit I went to both WalMart and Target today for some after Christmas deals. Promised myself to only spend 40, spent more like 55. It was mostly lights/light related products like bulbs, testers, and hangers. The past few years, I did the 75% sales, and have enough paper, tissue, tags, cutters, bows, ribbon, and cards to choke a horse.

    The only problem with 75% is the selection stinks and anything “good” is usually broken/missing something. I went w/50% this year because I saw the lights I needed Monday, and knew I could get them when the store opened. Since I was up to feed my horses(not the bows,wrapping paper,etc..) anyway, I just drove over and did my little shopping.

  8. Propaniac says:

    A friend of mine went to TRU and Target this morning with her family, despite totally dreading the crowds, but found that both stores were practically deserted.

  9. CapitalC says:

    This IS the “real” Black Friday for us Canadians, it’s called “Boxing Day”. While our sales aren’t as crazy as yours, we also have fewer people stampeding and trampling to get the sale items.

  10. Starfury says:

    Most of our Christmas gifts (Including the Wii the kids got) were purchased in the 3 months leading up to the shopping season. We did this to prevent the “holy sh!t Batman!” moment when the CC bill comes in. We also bought a LOT less than last year overall and will be continuing this trend.

  11. grant0 says:

    serge: “a durable twilled woollen or worsted fabric”

    surge: “a sudden large increase, typically a brief one”

    I doubt you meant the worsted fabric one.

  12. ARP says:

    Maybe not the day after, but I wonder what the numbers are on gift cards. Their use seems to have been steadily increasing over the last few years, so gift cards and after holiday sales just might save retailers. I take a cynical view that consumers simply can’t stop themselves from shopping (especially sales), regardless of the economy.

  13. theblackdog says:

    I didn’t see a good enough sale to justify buying anything after Christmas.

  14. dexterdog says:

    I keep cutting back at Christmas, as does most of the people I know. Mostly it’s because the amount of gifts bought for our kids were getting out of control, so much so that last Christmas they got bored opening all of their gifts. They didn’t get bored this year and I saved some money!

  15. mike1731 says:

    I dropped by Sears to buy some tools with a gift card. Lots of sales clerks pacing the aisles, but not that many customers. No waits for registers. It’s snowing in Wichita, but not bad enough to empty a mall. Some of the other stores seem busy (Best Buy and clothing stores), but then again, I didn’t see all that much massive sale activity. Feels like there’s going to be some major clearance sales in January…

  16. I’ve noticed, at least amongst my circle of friends, that fewer and fewer gifts have been big-ticket items from physical brick and mortar stores. I know I received some very nice gifts from discount stores and online shops, and many of my friends did too. I believe that people are spending less, but getting the same amount, opting for bargains instead of what has been advertised heavily.

    The only exception to this rule was the new external drive that my boyfriend bought for me at Worst Buy instead of online like I told him to. I know he spent at least $50 too much. As much as I’ve tried, my shopping lessons don’t seem to fully sink in ;)

  17. Imaginary_Friend says:

    In years past, I used to enjoy the post holiday bargains, but once I found out that the retailers looked forward to it too (along with Black Friday), that took all of the fun out of it, so I stopped going! It’s like they’re trying to outsmart us and not offer any *real* deals until Black Friday and the week after Christmas are officially over.

  18. SaraAB87 says:

    We have enough wrapping paper here to last 3 more Christmas’s at least so there was no need to buy more just to buy it cause its on sale, same with Christmas cards, we have also been picking up packs of really nice Christmas cards at yard sales for pennies. We don’t need to buy anything as we already have enough.

    We got way too much food for Christmas, no one knows what to buy us so we get tons of those food baskets and 2 huge pound cakes. We will never eat all this stuff so its going back to the stores as soon as we get the chance.

  19. Ausoleil says:

    What is it with this uniquely American obsession with keeping score on everything?

    Why should I care if this Christmas season wasn’t as good as retailers hoped? For some reason it has been a continuing topic on the news since Thanksgiving, and is going to continue into the New Year. It’s almost as if we measure the quality of the holiday itself by how much we collectively spend.

  20. oneswellfoop says:

    I haven’t found any really good deals posted anaywhere on the astuff I’m looking for: Video cards and hard drives. I haven’t seen best buy or other major retailers in that sector promoting a day aftr christmas sale either.
    My business partner’s wife went out this morning to find deals. She found very few sales and very few other shoppers.
    If retailers want to bump their numbers they’re going to have to lure people out of their houses with something other than the same old prices.

  21. Propaniac says:

    @Ausoleil: These retail stories aren’t supposed to indicate the quality of the holiday, but the quality of the economy (now and in the coming year, like when the bills for all these gifts start coming in).

  22. UpsetPanda says:

    I’m going shopping this weekend for work clothes. With all these awesome sales, I might just be able to dress like I paid an arm and a leg for a pair of pants while actually only paying just an arm.

  23. Onouris says:

    We keep getting news about how high street shops aren’t doing as well as they used to. Well of course retailers are losing out to internet shopping. When you’re online you get arguably better deals most of the time, you can do it from home in the evening, you can look up reviews and opinions and with free delivery why wouldn’t you?

    In the shop you get to look at the box, and walk around in the rain, and get told how great everything in the store is by the person trying to sell it to you. Ooooo compelling.

  24. Mario's Pants says:

    As Capital C pointed out, December 26th is the traditional “Boxing Day” in Canada (and, I believe, in England). We don’t have a “Black Friday” but I think if the Americans want a model to emulate, this is a good one. MANY people actually save up a little extra for spending AFTER xmas and/or spend that money or gift cards they received as gifts. People line up at midnight at some stores and stores produce “sneak peek” email-outs and pamphlets touting the sales. They actually use a limited number bait-and-switch system which encourages early arrivals and a certain level of panic. For example, an email I received had new-in-box $399 Olympus digital SLRs, $29 8Gb SD cards, etc. The catch is that each store has a very limited amount in stock (and yes, they do have them in stock, you just have to get there early enough). They’ve also pushed these sales to last a whole week now, and from what I can see from my own eyes, the traffic in stores I’ve visited is just as heavy post-Christmas as it is pre-Christmas. Good way to get rid of inventory year and month-end, too.

  25. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    @CapitalC: Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, but Boxing Day has always been a huge shopping day for my family, and I grew up here in the US. I can’t believe how many news outlets are treating the day-after-Christmas sales as some sort of novel thing – they’ve ALWAYS been huge, and the discounts much better than Black Friday. I’ve only shopped on Black Friday once, and it wasn’t worth it at all. Boxing Day, though – those are some savings.