December 15, 2011
As Sales Lag, Stores Shuffle the Calendar
By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
When is the final Saturday before Christmas? Don’t bother consulting a calendar if you’re shopping at Macy’s, Sears or J. C. Penney.
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They’ve moved it forward a week.
A sharp drop in shopping since Thanksgiving weekend has prompted worried retailers to slash prices, extend specials, stay open later — and rewrite the calendar.
Usually one of the most heavily discounted shopping days of the year, the Saturday before Christmas — it falls on Dec. 24 this year — is too crucial to retailers’ holiday sales to be left in the hands of procrastinating Christmas Eve shoppers. Instead, many of the promotions pegged to “Super Saturday,” as the day is known in the retail industry, are now scheduled for this Saturday — a full eight days before Christmas.
“If you wait until the 24th, you have no time to recover,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks consumer spending.
But not all stores are making the switch. And that is creating a good amount of confusion in the retail world.
“It’s chaotic,” said Dan Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership, an organization in Midtown Manhattan that will help market the Saturday promotions for retailers. “The world seems to be split.”