Retailers brace for busy day

Dec. 25, 2012 @ 07:48 PM

It may not be the biggest shopping day of the year, but step foot into a mall today, and it will be packed with people spending Christmas money or returning and exchanging gifts.
The National Retail Federation classifies the winter holidays as the 61 days of November and December. During this time, retailers do 20-40 percent of their annual sales.
The NRF estimated that this year, holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent over last year to $586 billion.
Last year, Dec. 26 was the fourth-biggest shopping day in foot traffic, according to ShopperTrak, behind Black Friday, Dec. 23, and Super Saturday, the last shopping Saturday before Christmas.
“We’re forecasting it to be busy, but from a return standpoint,” said Gerren Grayer, store team leader of Target at Oak Hollow. “We expect to have a lot of traffic and a lot of clearance shoppers.”
Foot traffic increased 25.9 percent over the same day last year and consumers spent $7.1 billion on Dec. 26 in retail sales, an increase of 25.5 percent over the same day last year.
“(Last year) Dec. 26 was likely the last door-buster day of the season as shoppers returned unwanted gift items and shopped for marked-down merchandise,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.
Some retailers have loosened the reins on their return policies for the holiday season, giving shoppers more time to return gifts that may have been purchased earlier in the season. Some also have changed policies to protect themselves from return fraud.
Return fraud costs retailers billions of dollars every year in the form of criminals who return stolen merchandise, use counterfeit receipts, or even return items already worn and/or used that are not defective. This holiday season, the NRF estimates that retailers may lose $2.9 billion in return fraud.
Whether shopping or returning, most stores continue their extended holiday hours through the new year.
jhowse@hpe.com | 888-3617