Posted December 26, 2012 3:57 pm by with 1 comment

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1409596_christmas_tree_6While shoppers battle to pick up holiday leftovers for up to 70% off, the bean counters have begun tallying the pre-Christmas dollars. So far, it’s not looking so good.

The Wall Street Journal pulled numbers from a variety of sources including the retail consulting firm Customer Growth Partners who said “2012 looks like the worst holiday-shopping season since 2009. Sales rose roughly 2.8%, after a 5.8% jump in 2011.”

Mastercard SpendingPulse looked at the entire season from October 28 through Christmas Eve and came out with only a 0.7% increase over 2011.

Things look a little better for online retailers. SpendingPulse says online holiday sales hit $48 billion which is an 8.4% increase over last year.

comScore goes further, saying they came up with a 16% increase which is only one point lower than their prediction.

Here in the US Hurricane Sandy got much of the blame, along with worries about the “fiscal cliff”. Add in the terrible tragedy in Sandy Hook and it hasn’t felt much like a time of celebration.

Over in the UK, they’re having similar money troubles. Britain’s CBI says that the majority of businesses are reporting below average sales for Christmas.

“So while families are making their budget stretch as far as possible for the Christmas season, the Christmas spending spirit can only go so far. In reality, sales growth has actually slowed since the autumn and retailers are expecting a further slowdown in the new year.”

There’s still hope for retailers looking to end the season on a high note – the after Christmas sale. Walmart opened their doors at 5 am this morning enticing shoppers with steep discounts on holiday merchandise. They also brazenly suggest that you come buy for yourself what you didn’t find under the tree. My, my, we are a spoiled lot, aren’t we?

Experts predict this will be one of the top five shopping days of the year. And I plan to do my part. I’m headed out to see what bargains I can find are my local retailers and then I’ll spend the evening checking out the deals online. Look, it’s not that I didn’t get what I wanted from Santa, it’s just that I can’t bear to pass up a bargain.

A SpongeBob Hot Coco Set from Walmart is only 3.43. Seriously, who can pass up a deal like that?

 Photo by MeiTeng

  • There has only been a marginal increase in sales for a lot of retailers, though this is to be expected given that the economy hasn’t been in top shape. It could also mean that consumers have different values now – there may not be as much emphasis on gift-giving.