Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stores Make Frantic Attempts to Win Shoppers, Who Don't Seem Interested

My wife used to be an assistant manager at Kohls. I was telling her about this the other day, and she thought it was a bit much.

At the Washington Post, "Kohl’s offers round-the-clock shopping in dash to boost a tepid holiday season":
At 3 a.m., Christmas carols played through the loud speaker at the Kohl’s in Silver Spring. “Duck Dynasty” doormats were marked down 80 percent, and candles were discounted 50 percent. About a dozen employees stocked handbags and children’s clothing.

But there were no shoppers.

An hour passed in the wee hours of Sunday morning; still nobody. Meanwhile, the drive-through at the McDonald’s across the parking lot attracted a steady stream of cars.

In a holiday season marked by large-scale discounts, seemingly never-ending Black Friday deals and free overnight shipping, Kohl’s is taking its efforts to an extreme, keeping stores open around the clock Friday through Christmas Eve. Like many retailers, Kohl’s is battling sagging profits with a frantic attempt to draw in last-minute customers and avert a holiday disaster.

On Monday, retailers such as Nordstrom, Brookstone and Crate & Barrel were offering free overnight shipping. Bloomingdale’s, owned by Macy’s, was touting a new round of last-minute discounts — dubbed the “procrastinators have all the fun” sale — offering 15 percent off nearly all items through Christmas Eve.

Blizzard Entertainment, the video-game company, took its promotions a step further, extending Black Friday discounts through 2014. Even Target, which has seen relatively strong profits this year, amped up its deals before being hit by a credit card breach that affected up to 40 million shoppers. The retail giant was forced to go further to draw in potentially skeptical customers in the crucial days before Christmas, offering 10 percent off all in-store purchases.

Despite data showing that the economy is expanding at a surprisingly strong pace, it has been a tough year for many retailers, which rely on holiday spending for up to 40 percent of their annual sales. Wealthy consumers are propping up high-end retailers such as Tiffany’s and using cheap financing to make big-ticket purchases, including cars.
Shopping at 3:00am? I'll pass.

More at the link.