Retailers slash prices in hope of big profits
Posted December 23, 2008 12:18 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Dow's drop in the past few months appears to have dragged holiday shopping down with it, according to a national sales-monitoring group.
Total retail sales are down nearly 10 percent, compared with this time last year, and before the season is over, they are expected to drop nearly 12 percent, according to ShopperTrak, which monitors retail activity across the United States.
Foot traffic inside retail stores is down about 18 percent. Some retail analysts say the season could be the toughest in almost 20 years.
That has led local retailers and malls to drop their prices and offer big sales and extended shopping hours to try to salvage what has traditionally been the biggest shopping season of the year.
The International Council of Shopping Centers says 40 percent of gift-buying isn't done yet.
Retails stores at Crabtree Valley Mall, for example, are cutting prices by up to 70 percent, and others are trying to lure customers with buy-one-get-one-free offers.
"I think every store is pretty much saying they're having a sale," shopper Keyotta Sanford said. "There's sales like everywhere."
As some retail stores struggle, however, a recent retail survey shows that discount chains, such as Wal-Mart and Family Dollar, have seen a 10 percent increase in sales because people are turning to smaller gifts and lower price points.
Wal-Mart's sales were up 6.5 percent in November; Family Dollar's sales were up 2.1 percent.