Holiday retail health

November 18, 2009 3:21:18 PM PST
Up, down or as flat as a new plasma screen tv, it's anybody's guess this holiday season with analysts saying one thing, shoppers and retailers another. Sensing there would be an uptick in consumer confidence the electronics buyer for J&R didn't cut corners on inventory ordering.

John Heller of J&R said, "We don't want to be out of stock, that's bad for our customers."

So the downtown store is flush with the season's hottest gifts, lightweight netbooks, inexpensive digital frames, and tiny 200 hundred dollar camcorders.

They will record for two hours and have built in memory.

Big ticket items like the giant LCD's and high-end computers will be cheaper than usual this year, but expect competition at some stores for affordable presents.

It's like rolling the dice at stores.

Some profit starved retailers reeling from last year ordered too little and will run out of stock fast, while the big box stores ordering in bulk will slash prices early and often to avoid getting stuck with surplus.

Retail consultant Tom Chin says, "If you want to take advantage of deals, go out on Black Friday and get some deals."

Discounters like TJ Maxx and Costco will fare the best this year, struggling jewelry and designer department stores will continue to suffer.

Translation? This equals deals for shoppers who bargain.

Paying with cash not credit this year, but still shopping, and doing it smarter.

The spirit of the season is to give, but just do it with more control.