Worried Retailers Plan for the Holidays

Sep 23, 2013 8:29am

Morning Money Memo…

Thanksgiving is more than two months away, but already many big retailers are planning for the holiday shopping season. The launch may come even earlier than normal. Is it a sign of desperation? Perhaps. Expectations for the holiday shopping season are uncertain. A new forecast by the professional services firm Deloitte says holiday retail sales are likely to grow about 4.5 percent – about the same as last year. But other predictions have been gloomier.

Consumer income has been flat this year and shoppers are cautious about spending money and go armed with their smartphones at the mail. But “a lot the retailers the big boxes are completely ignoring mobile,” says consumer behavior expert Eric Holtzclaw, CEO of Laddering Works. That could be an expensive mistake. “They should have a mobile app and they should have social media campaigns that really interact with their consumers so that they can help them along that decision-buying process and then they’ll go ahead and purchase the product,” says Holtzclaw.

READ MORE: THE BUSINESS OF MAKING HOLIDAY SHOPPING FORECASTS

From euphoria to worry. Wall Street investors turned from relief over the Fed’s decision not to taper bond buying to concern about Washington gridlock. With no sign of compromise or a deal in sight, the battle over the federal budget could bring a lot of uncertainty to financial markets over the next several weeks. Two years ago, during the last big fight over raising the US debt ceiling, global markets plunged. On Friday the Dow Jones index fell 185 points, wiping out all the gains from a rally earlier in the week. So far this month the averages are up about 4 percent from August.

Blackberry, Netflix and Apple are among the stocks to watch. The launch of the new iPhones appears to have gone well with long lines at many Apple stores. Blackberry shares were crushed after Friday’s announcement that quarterly revenues for the smartphone maker may be down nearly 50 percent over last year. Netflix shares have tripled in value this year, and the run may not be over. The streaming video firm scored a first-ever digital video wins at the Emmy Awards last night as David Fincher took the best director prize for “House of Cards.” The win is another sign of growing clout for Netflix in Hollywood.

The launch Grand Theft Auto V appears to have been the biggest entertainment sales event in history. ABC News’ Alan Farnham reports the video game crossed the $1 billion mark in sales.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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