Dec. 23 - Despite big discounts by retailers, U.S. consumers shopped less on the final weekend before Christmas. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Its the most wonderful time of the year- unless you are a retailer in 2013. Despite deeper discounts, U.S. consumers shopped less in the final weekend before the Christmas holiday- the latest sign of how tough a season its been for retailers. IHS Global Insight Director of Consumer Economics Chris Christopher: SOUNDBITE: CHRIS CHRISTOPHER, DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER ECONOMICS AT IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT. "The overall holiday sales this year won't be that strong. They will be the weakest, according to our projections since 2009. There is a few things that are happening here. One thing is there is a shift to online, however there is one weekend shorter this holiday shopping season than last year." He says consumers shopped earlier. New data shows consumer spending was up in November, and consumer sentiment hit a five month high. But as we get closer to Christmas, store traffic has been down. According to RetailNext, not only did retail sales at brick-and-mortar stores fall on Friday and Saturday, the number of visits to stores dropped as well. Consumers are holding out for rock bottom deals. About a third of consumers still haven't finished their shopping, and a quarter of them say they are holding out for last minute bargains. Among the hardest hit - teen retailers- Aeropostale for example was offering up to 70 percent off everything in its stores this past weekend. On the upside, electronics chains have benefitted from best selling items like Microsoft's new Xbox One gaming console, as well as Sony's Playstation 4. Not to mention the iPhone. SOUNDBITE: CHRIS CHRISTOPHER, DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER ECONOMICS AT IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT. "The overall trend is electronics are doing very well. From about August it has done well. The apple iPhone the new one came out in late September and has been selling well. There has been some games out that is doing well. Clothing hasn't been doing well.' One bright spot - the weather. No severe storms are in the forecast to keep last minute shoppers from getting their last minute shopping done.