The problem with taking so much off on merchandise before Christmas is that there's not much more to cut after Christmas. Stores were fairly quiet Friday morning - well, quiet for what's supposed to be the start of the post-holiday sales spurt. "These are the same discounts we’ve seen before the holiday," retail analyst Marshal Cohen told the NYT. "Nothing new, nothing exciting." I had much the same reaction after wandering around Century City mall.
As expected, retailers had one of the worst holiday shopping seasons in decades, with sales falling by double digits in nearly all categories, including apparel, luxury goods, furniture and electronics and appliances, according SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report by MasterCard Advisors that estimates retail sales (including by check and cash). The report said that in November retail sales sank 5.5 percent compared with a year ago. They were down 8 percent in December, through Christmas Eve. Excluding gasoline, the decrease in holiday sales ranged from 2 to 4 percent.