The robust Black Friday weekend prompted several industry groups to upgrade their forecast for the holiday season to 3% to 4% growth over last year — meaning a decent but not terrific season for retailers.
According to ShopperTrak, sales were up 2.5% from Nov. 1 through Saturday compared with the same period last year. A strong 4.1% sales jump in November has been followed by weaker 0.5% growth in December thus far.
Even after the presents are unwrapped Sunday, the shopping party is still not over. The day after Christmas is traditionally another big day for retailers.
Industry watchers say retailers will roll out new products, many at full price, to attract consumers streaming into stores and malls to redeem gift cards and return ill-fitting (and presumably unattractive) clothes and other unwanted gifts.
"The 26th will be a telling day," Martin said. "If retailers are overburdened with inventory, if we see 65% or 75% off, that's an indication that the season didn't go as good as they hoped."
If not, then prepare for rock-bottom prices, Martin said, but only on items "no one wanted in the first place."