If you weren’t one of the millions of Americans who took advantage of November and December mega sales like Black Friday or those crazy after-Christmas clearances, you missed the lines and the crowds, but you didn’t necessarily miss the best prices.
Whether you’re hitting a sale or not, using a gift card is like shopping for free, and retailers benefit when consumers forget to cash in these gifts. According to CEB Towergroup, gift cards accounted for 18 percent of holiday spending. This past holiday $118 billion was loaded onto American gift cards; however, one percent or roughly $1.2 billion will be lost in spillage. Spillage refers to cards that are lost or unused, and this number has been up to 10 percent of sales in previous years.
Rather than losing your plastic and giving the retailers free cash, post-holiday sales are a great way to get the most out of all those gift cards you received for Christmas. The beginning of the calendar year is the end of the retail fiscal year, and the perfect opportunity for stores to clear out their merchandise and you to cash in on savings.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, retailers like Macy’s are taking their Black Friday sales and extending them in an effort to increase their profitability. To offer discounts to as many customers as possible, Macy’s opened on Thanksgiving for the first time in the store’s history. The company’s website promised Black Friday discounts for the entire weekend of Thursday through Saturday. Bloomberg analysts suggest that many of these prices continue to extend past the holidays and throughout January.
Bloomberg Businessweek predicts that slightly lower-than-anticipated holiday sales will result in some panic sales. During so-called panic sales, retailers will be even more likely to carry killer prices through the beginning of the year, and in some cases, retailers may drop prices even lower than they were on big shopping days like Black Friday. Keep in mind that the fiscal year runs until the end of January, so end-of-year sales should last through this month.
Although retailers have to process a lot of returns in January, the month has long been associated with high sales numbers, as Washington Post Online explains. Traditionally, retailers have used January to clear out holiday and winter items so that they can make room for springtime merchandise. If you want to buy a new winter coat, holiday decorations, or even a sled, January is a great time to do so. The pickings may be scarce, but what you do find will have price tags that may be even lower than they were around Christmas.
Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be
Holiday sales often feature a handful of doorbusters designed to bring in shoppers. Once they’ve saved on that item, the shoppers will fill their carts with regularly priced items or items that are just slightly on sale. Retailers rely on this model to keep their profits in the black, but it doesn’t always work. The chances are high that these prices are no lower than what you’ll find throughout the rest of the year.
P.S. – If you have a gift card you really don’t want, instead of letting it gather dust…sell it for CASH! Sell Your Gift Cards For Cash at Cardpool.com!
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