The countdown is on to Christmas- and retailers have reason to be optimistic.
The National Retail Federation has upped its holiday forecast – saying it now expects holiday sales to be up 3.8% – a big jump from the 2.8% forecast made in early October.
But competition to get those consumer dollars in the final days is intense.
At this Target in New York City, shoppers like Suzette and Orlando Cruz were focused on getting the best deals.
“I’m all for bargains. I love to get that cheap stuff. It was very expensive yesterday and today it went down so I love that”
Melody Smith was shopping with three-year-old, Lyric:
“It’s been a tough year for everybody in my household, you know. I’ve lost my job this year and it’s like really rough on us.”
Value driven retailers like Target have taken that consumer sentiment to heart – using strong promotions to get budget-conscious consumers to spend – even when the wallets are thin.
Target Senior Vice President, Derek Jenkins, oversees about 450 stores on the east coast:
“We hear so often you come in with a list and plan on buying a few items and then leaving out with a cart full of items a lot more than they had intended to spend.”
According to a Reuters survey – nearly 38% of shoppers plan to visit discount chains to do their holiday shopping – yet another sign shoppers remain highly price sensitive.
That puts pressure on stores like Target to cut prices and offer other promotions.
“We’ll also be giving gift cards on Friday from 5:00 Friday until Saturday at noon, where if you make a $75 purchase you’ll get a gift card for $10. So we’re offering you tremendous values in addition to the ads we’re running this week that will just, I mean, it will fit a lot of budgets and you will get a lot more for your money. “
But just like stores started the season on Black Friday with dazzling deals and early openings, analysts say they will have to do the same for the finale.