Monday, December 27, 2010

After-Christmas Sale Canceled Due to Lack of Interest

Empty shelves are one deterrent to the after-Christmas sales. Snow cover over almost half the country is another.

Christmas items especially sold out early, friends tell me, with many stores running out of Christmas lights and similar items the weekend before Christmas. There is plenty of leftover inventory in categories such as clothing and consumer electronics, but these are not the most exciting categories at the moment, and the excess stock is not so great that anyone can expect to see deep discounts. The thought of getting a sweater for 40 percent off its original price is not exciting enough to get most shoppers out in the cold.

Then there is the snow. A wave of heavy snow has crossed the country, keeping people home in New England today after collapsing the Metrodome roof in Minneapolis on December 12. Slippery road conditions and the fatigue from hours of snow shoveling make it harder to decide to go out to a ho-hum department store sale.

The calendar also may work against the after-Christmas sale crowds, at least for now. With Christmas falling on Saturday, and New Year’s Eve on Friday night, many people are looking forward to an entire week off, and with holiday leftovers, they may not have to leave the house until Friday.

Retail layoffs began early again this year, with some stores reducing to off-season staffing levels the Monday before Christmas. With fewer workers to prepare a sale, not so many shoppers on the way, and no piles of excess merchandise to liquidate, it isn’t exactly a setup for a big sale. Don’t be surprised to see stores holding “after-Christmas sales” in name only, with a few interesting items marked down while the retail workers focus on clearing out the Christmas section and getting the Valentine’s Day merchandise set up.