Last chance to grab hot holiday deals
Retailers are bringing back 'doorbusters' in the final shopping weekend before Christmas. But are the 'hot' items all sold out?
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If this year's Black Friday deals left you breathless, prepare for a more aggressive onslaught of heavy discounts as anxious retailers pull out the stops in the final make-or-break weekend of the 2006 holiday shopping season.
"This is it. This weekend is the Super Bowl of retailing and stores will do anything and everything to get consumers into the stadium," said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with market research firm NPD Group.
About 36 percent of consumers are expected to hit stores and wrap up their holiday purchases this weekend, said Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group.
So with plenty of procrastinators in the picture, industry watchers say retailers need a blockbuster weekend in order to reach holiday revenue and profit targets.
"Retailers have to be superaggressive this weekend because the [holiday]season so far hasn't been great for them," said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of New York-based Davidowitz & Associates, a retail consulting and investment banking firm.
Davidowitz alluded to November same-store sales numbers that showed plenty of weakness particularly among apparel sellers. Same-store sales are a key measure of performance and are defined as sales at retail stores open at least a year.
"The worse thing for stores is to give up the foot traffic over the next three days," he said.
According to the National Retail Federation, the Saturday before Christmas is typically the busiest shopping day of the year. The NRF anticipates that total sales during November and December - which account for as much as 50 percent of retailers profits and sales - will rise 5 percent to $457.4 billion, which is slower than last year's 6.1 percent increase for the same period
A sample of retail chains and mall operators told CNNMoney.com that they're preparing for a surge of last-minute shoppers.
However, those shoppers shouldn't have high hopes of scoring an elusive T.M.X. Elmo, Wii or PlayStation 3 this weekend, three of the season's "must-have items" that were in limited supply.
Here's what consumers can expect:
J.C. Penney: Company spokeswoman Brenda Romero said Penney department stores will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
On Christmas Eve, its stores will open at 7 a.m. but the closing time will vary depending on the guidelines set by the malls where Penney stores are located, according to Romero.
Penney also set so-called doorbuster deals, or limited-time discounts, from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday and from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday. These include 60 percent off luggage, 50 percent off seasonal apparel, 20 to 50 percent off games and gadgets and 20 to 60 percent off on fine jewelry and watches.
Sears: Sears department stores will open at 5 a.m. until midnight Saturday and from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, where permitted. On both days, the retailer will give a $10 "reward card" to the first 50 shoppers to its stores, said Sears spokesman Larry Costello.
The Christmas specials at Sears include a 40-inch Sony LCD HDTV for $1,299, marked down from its original price of $1,799. However, Costello said the product is in limited quantity.
Other deals include 60 percent off on winter clothing and 50 percent off on fine jewelry. The retailer is also hoping to capture day-after Christmas sales with special "cash-back" offers on home appliances.
"Retailers have learned that it's risky not to promote post-Christmas. Believe or not, there are plenty of consumers who will go shopping for gifts after Christmas," said NPD's Cohen
Kmart: Kmart stores will open from 6 a.m. until midnight Saturday and from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday, where permitted. Kmart supercenters will stay open as late as midnight on Christmas Eve.
Deals include 15 to 20 percent off on toys and electronics.
Wal-Mart: The discount king set the tone with very aggressive price cuts on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that marked the start of holiday shopping. Shoppers crowded Wal-Mart stores on Black Friday, but the retailer quickly lost momentum thereafter.
In fact, Wal-Mart posted a dismal 0.1 percent dip in its November same-store sales.
In an e-mail to CNNMoney.com, company spokesman Linda Blakley said Wal-Mart won't offer doorbuster deals over the weekend. However, she said shoppers can expect "great values," including rollback pricing.
Blakley highlighted specials such as a Black & Decker tool box for $9.88, a Black & Decker auto wrench for $28.44, a Mr. Coffee programmable coffee maker for $24.88 and 1/10-carat diamond stud earrings for $24.96
Best Buy: Best Buy stores will open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve, where permitted.
The retailer's Christmas Eve discounts include a 32-inch LCD HDTV for $599, a Gateway ML 40 notebook computer for $599.99 and a Sony 8.1 megapixel Cybershot digital camera for $299.99.