The skinny: If you see something you like for holiday shopping, buy it. Don’t wait for dramatic last minute discounts. It’s not happening this year -at least not on popular merchandise categories like clothes and toys.
With the economy so lousy, retailers didn’t buy much this year (and don’t we all know it). By many accounts, they bought 30% to 40% less inventory over last year. Although consumer shopping is at its lowest levels since WW2 -down by 20%- available merchandise for holiday gift giving will fall short by 10% to 20%. There will be more money chasing product (even in this lousy economy) meaning holiday discounts aren’t as likely as last year’s experience would indicate. Shortfalls in popular merchandise categories will further buoy demand and prices in other product sectors as consumers make do with fall back choices.
Shop early, otherwise you may end up making do or making more gifts than you’d intended at the last minute when you have less time than ever. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.