After Christmas Begins Before the Holiday - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

After Christmas Begins Before the Holiday

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On the day before Christmas, it's looking like the day after Christmas at some retailers. 
 
Amazon.com is already offering its "after Christmas" deals of up to 70 percent off clothes and 60 percent off electronics. Old Navy is running TV ads that say its "after-holiday sale starts early" with discounts of up to 75 percent off. 
 
Usually, stores wait until the day after Christmas to offer deep discounts on merchandise that didn't sell. But this year, Americans who are still worried about the economy have held back on their spending. Sales at stores have fallen for three consecutive weeks.
 
At New Jersey's Garden State Plaza Mall over the weekend, stores including Ann Taylor, Express and Abercrombie & Fitch had 50-percent-off sales. Gap offered up to 60 percent off. 
 
One woman who visited a CVS store in Decatur, Georgia this morning was searching for stuffed animals for her children. Heather Nadler said she still plans to hit up sales after Christmas -- when she says she'll probably start shopping for herself.

Overall, ShopperTrak estimates that holiday sales at stores so far are up 2 percent to $218.4 billion compared with the same period last year. That's below the 2.4 percent forecast for the two-month period, but the company is standing by that estimate with a little over a week left before the season ends.

The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail group, also said it's sticking with its forecast that sales in stores and online will be up 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion.

In order to get that growth, stores have tried all they can to lure shoppers in. For instance, at the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, N.J. over the weekend, Abercrombie & Fitch, AnnTaylor and Express had 50 percent sales. Gap offered up to 60 percent off. And Steve Madden had a buy one, get the second pair at 75 percent off.

Stores, which typically don't discuss their discount strategy during the season, are hoping the sales will lure last-minute shoppers like Rubi Cuautle, 36, a restaurant manager. Cuautle headed to Target in Atlanta on Tuesday to shop for toys and pajamas for her nieces and nephews. "It's crunch time," she said

But some analysts doubt the discounts will be enough to save the season. Research firm Retail Metrics predicts December revenue in stores open at least one year, a key retail metric, will rise 2.8 percent, slightly higher than last year's 2.6 percent increase.

Ken Perkins, the president of Retail Metrics, said reports suggest that the final weekend before Christmas "did not generate the final crush of shoppers necessary to save the holiday season." (AP)

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