Attention holiday shoppers! Your favorite retailer may have shuffled the calendar.
Last- minute gift buyers can usually count on a final round of discounts and promotions the last Saturday before Christmas. Not this year.
"Super Saturday," as retailers call it, falls on December 24 - too late for some big stores, already anxious about their holiday sales. Sears, JC Penny, Macy's, and some other stores decided to shift their final pre- Christmas push forward by a week. Many promotions begin this weekend, but not all stores are making the change, which could prove confusing to shoppers.
After all the hype surround black Friday, cyber Monday, free shipping Friday, and green Monday, some retailers are fearful consumers may be shopped out - exhausted by the seemingly endless round of marketing promotions.
Predictions about this year's holiday season are mixed. The International Council of Shopping Centers reported a sharp drop off in sales during early December after the Thanksgiving holiday rush. But this week the National Retail Federation boosted its forecast to a 3.8 percent increase for the season, up from an October prediction of 2.8 percent.
Shoppers shouldn't expect a glut of deeply discounted unsold goods. "Retailers have got incredibly smart about their yield management," says Brian Hoyt of retailmenot.com. "They did a lot of heavy discounting on the big ticket items right up front," at the start of the holiday shopping season.
"Now you're seeing the discount strategy shift to other kinds of last minute gift items that consumers purchase," says Hoyt. Books, movies, music and fashion accessories are on sale. "Items that sell for under $100."
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio twitter.com/daviesabc