Retail experts in the UAB School of Business are forecasting fewer deep discounts this holiday shopping season and encouraging value seekers to hit their favorite stores early.
"The economic tsunami was coming ashore during the holiday season of 2008, but this year is different," says Bob Robicheaux, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics. "Retailers have had ample time to prepare for current consumer trends, which means large discounts and sales may not be as common.
Mickey Gee, M.A., the executive-in-residence in the UAB Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics, says retailers are better prepared in 2009 after tracking the trend of contracted consumer spending during the past year.
"Last year retailers were caught with large inventories that were ordered well before the financial collapse and had to deeply slash prices to move merchandise," says Gee. "This means retailers have bought only merchandise that they think offers real value to customers, and they have bought in fewer quantities to ensure entire inventories can be moved without the need for major price cuts, which can lead to retailers actually losing money."
Assistant Professor of Marketing Lauren Skinner, Ph.D., says consumers need to be prepared to act on early deals because some supplies may not last deep into the season.
"When store inventories are lower there are fewer opportunities for consumers to purchase," Skinner says. "This means that consumers are taking on more risk if they try to wait for a specific item to drop significantly in price, because they could to miss out altogether if that item sells out early due to lower supplies."