Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

SEASON OF SAVINGS: Retailers cut deep into prices to attract customers

FARGO -- It's already the season for holiday deals with many local retailers discounting prices now instead of waiting for Black Friday, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving.

Barbie
Barbie Fashionistas, by Mattel, are featured at the Time to Play Holiday 2009 Most Wanted List event in New York. Barbie Fashionistas are among a handful of popular toys that are becoming hard to find.

FARGO -- It's already the season for holiday deals with many local retailers discounting prices now instead of waiting for Black Friday, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving.

Retailers are offering holiday promotions earlier in order to win over more customers because shoppers are looking at price before anything else, said Kathy Grannis, National Retail Federation spokeswoman.

A recent study by BDO Seidman, a national accounting and consulting organization, shows that 96 percent of chief marketing officers at leading U.S. retailers expect to offer more discounts and promotions this holiday season. That's up from 88 percent last year and 73 percent in 2007.

"Kmart realizes that the economy is tight and a lot of retailers felt the impact of that last season," said Molly Lange, Moorhead Kmart store manager. "So, anything we can do to get a jump-start with our Christmas shoppers, we're just trying to be aggressive."

Matching prices

ADVERTISEMENT

Target has started matching prices when shoppers bring in competitors' ads, said Ben Smith, Fargo Target store team leader.

In September, Wal-Mart announced that it is pricing more than 100 toys at $10. Earlier this month, the company announced that it slashed the prices of even more toys, many by 20 to 30 percent.

"We've done some very aggressive pricing in our toy department and we've seen some great traffic and customer responses," said John Pies, manager of the newest Fargo Wal-Mart.

Seventy percent of consumers planned to start their holiday toy shopping before Halloween, Wal-shopping before Halloween, Wal-Mart customer research shows. Two out of 10 planned to finish by Halloween, and more than 50 percent of moms want to finish their holiday shopping by Thanksgiving.

"We've noticed that shoppers want to do their shopping earlier," Pies said. "It seems like they're planning more forward-thinking, given the economy."

The National Retail Federation finds that people are still beginning the majority of gift shopping in November. What's different this year are the sales and promotions that began as early as July.

"It's just the nature of the economy that we're in," Grannis said. "It's hard for people to shop for gifts these days and retailers understand that. They're trying to find creative ways to connect with their shoppers and give them great prices at the same time."

Spread out shopping

ADVERTISEMENT

Many stores are enticing customers to spread out their shopping because retailers have had to cut inventory levels, Grannis said.

More than half of retailers surveyed by BDO Seidman said they reduced holiday inventory purchases by an average of 10 percent.

Stores are also extending hours and luring Web site shoppers by offering free shipping and online-only sales.

Because offering Black-Friday-level savings weeks or even months in advance is a product of the economy, it's not a practice that will necessarily stay in place, Grannis said.

Chief marketing officers expect overall sales to increase by 2.6 percent for the 2009 holiday season, according to BDO Seidman.

mart customer research shows. Two out of 10 planned to finish by Halloween, and more than 50 percent of moms want to finish their holiday shopping by Thanksgiving.

"We've noticed that shoppers want to do their shopping earlier," said Pies. "It seems like they're planning more forward-thinking, given the economy."

The National Retail Federation finds that people are still beginning the majority of gift shopping in November. What's different this year are the sales and promotions that began as early as July.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's just the nature of the economy that we're in," Grannis said. "It's hard for people to shop for gifts these days and retailers understand that. They're trying to find creative ways to connect with their shoppers and give them great prices at the same time."

Many stores are enticing customers to spread out their shopping, because retailers have had to cut inventory levels, Grannis said.

More than half of retailers surveyed by BDO Seidman said they reduced holiday inventory purchases by an average of 10 percent.

Stores are also extending hours and luring Web site shoppers by offering free shipping and online-only sales.

Because offering Black-Friday-level savings weeks or even months in advance is a product of the economy, it's not a practice that will necessarily stay in place, Grannis said.

Chief marketing officers expect overall sales to increase by 2.6 for the 2009 holiday season, according to BDO Seidman.

Frank writes for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.

What To Read Next
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.