I work for a nationwide specialty retailer. And I can tell you, the desperation is palpable. As a visual merchandiser, my busiest time is usually from August through October, when I am working on holiday. This year, November and December have been hell. We are changing up merchandising and promotions so much it makes my head spin; I can only imagine what it’s doing to our store staff and customers.
We’re not alone, it seems. All retailers, from big box stores to luxury brands are discounting, and discounting BIG time.
Macy’s Inc., the second-largest U.S. department-store chain, is offering $800 sapphire or ruby and diamond rings for $249 during part of the day. Gap Inc.’s Banana Republic chain is advertising clothing for as much as 60 percent off. A $2,100 Marc Jacobs dress was listed at $629.95 on Saks Inc.’s Web site.
“This year, you have many retailers just trying to clear inventory to raise cash rather than to achieve highest profit,” said Linda Tsai, a retail analyst at MKM Partners LLC. “It has the potential to create havoc for retail and considerable bargains for consumers over the next few weeks.”
Inventory is, quite possibly, the most difficult issue for retailers. How much do you buy? How assorted? What kind of agreements and minimum buys have you negotiated with vendors? Trust me, it’s not easy.
The winners are consumers. Yes, people are losing their jobs by the thousands and many more are cutting back. But, it is the holiday season, and there are gifts to be purchased. Thankfully, there are major deals to be found.
Personally, I did no shopping this year. David and I are not buying for one another, he took care of the gifts for his family, and I only need to buy a $100 gift certificate for my dad, whose name I pulled for my family. I didn’t even send out holiday cards this year, which I always do. I think it’s partly the state of our economy, and also the fact that I have been busy; starting this blog, working, etc.
How about you? Are you still wrapping up your holiday shopping or are you all done?