Retailers Project ‘Deals Not Steals’ for Summer Shopping

May 27, 2009 • Shopping

930660427_ab76c3de6a One of the only things that has become a perk of the failing economy these days is shopping. Plain and simple-the demand for most unneeded items has decreased in the past year or so, leaving more merchandise than stores know what to do with, and as a response retailers have been dramatically lowering prices each quarter. This leaves those of us with a little cash to burn practically euphoric and dancing gloriously through the racks with our bevy of attainable options. But those days may be coming to a close as we enter the warmer weather months. Following Memorial Day, the traditional springboard for a major overhaul of spring merchandise, most retail chains are slowing down their momentum in the markdown race and are expecting this trend to continue through the summer season. Why would they do this to us! Well, it's as simple as it was before-according to WWD, the overall demand is once again rising to meet retail sales goals after the paltry turnouts from last fall and holiday quarters, when the chaotic discounting began.

Starting in January, spring merchandise was marked down almost as soon as it was placed on the racks in order to get stores' inventories in line with the demand. Along with additional strategies such as one day sales, private events, and online promotions, most major department stores were able to scrape by leading up to this month. Yet these past few weeks have experienced noticeable increases in the amount of spending, as noted by research analyst for Pali Capitol, Amy Noblin. “Going into Memorial Day, we saw a big pickup in promotional activity and a big pickup in traffic. That tells me there was ground to be made up. Retailers will continue to work through clearance merchandise fairly well as promotional breadth moves down in many cases.”

Other specialists in the industry seem to agree, calling the amount of future promotions "moderate" and "fewer". Analysts from Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue reported their future price cutting will be much more "planned and organized". Although those words may seem ominous to the general shopping public, they thankfully do not indicate sales altogether disappearing. One retail chief executive commented on his store's current selling status as, "It's still really difficult to sell at full price. People have been marking down, but it's been a little more subtle and not as blatant."

There is really no way to tell if this trend of more moderate discounting will indeed continue but WWD reported that major department stores including Nordstrom, Saks, Macys, and Bloomingdales are all pretty much on par with their sales goals for this season in comparison with previous years. And happy as I am to report that business is looking up for the retail industry, I may have to retire my clearance rack tango much sooner than I would have hoped.

Article Source: WWD
Photo Source: Flickr
-Alia Rajput

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