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Super Saturday: Luxury Retailers And Walmart Brace For A Blowout

Dec 20 2013, 11:46am CST | by

Super Saturday: Luxury Retailers And Walmart Brace For A Blowout
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Super Saturday, the last weekend before Christmas and stores are ready for the last surge of holiday shoppers. Will it be bonkers or a bust?

A little bit of both, depending on how you look at it. Here are some predictions:

Luxury retail is poised to pop. Luxury buyers are less likely to shop the sales, so waiting and having to pay more isn’t such a big deal. Shoppers in the luxury sector, the top 10% according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, are about to get out their wallets.

Jewelry in particular is set to sparkle as holiday shoppers in the market for a little “bling” are more likely to purchase those big ticket items in the final days leading up to Christmas. Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors believes luxury shoppers are back in the market and anticipates December 21 – Super Saturday – will be the biggest shopping day of the season for jewelry and luxury.

Apparel has a fire sale. Every year apparel as a category is a big loser. Discounts are prevalent and escalate the closer we get to Christmas. This year is no different, as shoppers wait for the after Christmas sales for new duds.

Home goods get a nice boost. The holidays are a really bad time of year to buy home goods. January is the month for white sales, when furnishings get cleared out for a new season of sofas and lamps and savvy shoppers who defer these purchases can really clean up. (I’m looking at living room full of furniture picked up for a pittance on Dec. 26 as proof.)

Those making big-ticket buys before Christmas are doing so because they have to, not want to.

But so many have put off these purchases since the recession began in 2007, that it’s likely some are popping for new sheets, pillows and decorative items to freshen things up a bit for company. And paying close to full price for the luxury.

Target takes a hit. After announcing that data from 40 million credit cards was potentially stolen in the two weeks after Black Friday, Target stores has been doing everything it can to reassure shoppers and keep them coming in to buy. But will it work?

I don’t think consumers have panicked. These breaches, even on such a massive scale, are met with more yawns than gasps. Shoppers are both a bit desensitized, already experienced in dealing with credit card fraud, or confident their banks are dealing with fake charges.

There’s just one fly in this theory.

Shoppers may stay away from Target for a few days while the dust settles. The retailer’s help lines and service site are reportedly swamped, and anxious holders of the Target REDcard are keeping customer service representatives busy.

Fraud sucks, plain and simple. But fraud that negatively impacts sales on the last shopping weekend before Christmas will likely leave a mark — a big red mark in the shape of a bullseye.

Walmart will win Super Saturday. With Target knocked down, even a peg, Walmart stands to pick up some pretty good sales as shoppers buy last minute gifts and supplies for the holiday itself.
Grocers, drug and dollar stores also stand to benefit as sources for last minute gift wrap, cards, candy and food items. But as the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart will snag the bulk of these dollars.

If you’re shopping from now through Christmas, good luck. And let me know your thoughts as you brave the crowds — or if there are any crowds — by following me on Twitter @lfheller.

Source: Forbes

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