Make us your home page
Instagram

Retailers' shelves cleaned out after holidays

ATLANTA — Retailers have thin inventories after coming out of Christmas with slightly better-than-expected sales.

Some retailers kept inventory so low that they've had to bring in new merchandise to restock shelves, a rare move this soon after Christmas.

That's good news for their bottom lines. But it means slim pickings for shoppers hoping for after-Christmas clearance sales, who are advised to act quickly because there are relatively few leftovers to clear out.

Because their ordering was in line with weak demand, retailers were able to sell more items at higher prices, which is critical to profits. Last year, profits were hammered by fire-sale discounts to get rid of the excess.

"The latest holiday shopping season wasn't a rip-roaring success, but at least it met or slightly exceeded expectations," said John Lonski, chief economist of Moody's Capital Markets Research Group. "Consumer spending is indeed in a recovery mode."

Spending rose 3.6 percent in November and December, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which estimates all forms of payment including cash. Adjusted for an extra shopping day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the number was closer to a 1 percent rise. That was still better than the flat sales analysts had predicted.

After-Christmas traffic also appeared to be relatively robust, though it wasn't clear how much people were actually spending.

Roth Capital Partners analyst Elizabeth Pierce visited six malls Saturday in Southern California and saw many shoppers without bags. It's likely shoppers who went looking for bargains left without buying much, she said.

Shoppers over the weekend certainly focused on deals. But after last year's dismal season, when unplanned discounts of 70 percent off or more began appearing well before Christmas, retailers vowed they wouldn't get caught that way again.

This year the tight control let retailers mostly keep discounts planned, said FBR Capital Markets analyst Adrienne Tennant.

A better picture of how retailers fared during the holiday will be known Jan. 7, when many report December sales.

Retailers' shelves cleaned out after holidays 12/28/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2009 9:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community for the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
  2. Claim: State pressured CFO, used secret recordings to shut down Universal Health Care

    Banking

    ST. PETERSBURG — The founder of St. Petersburg's Universal Health Care alleges that Florida regulators conspired with the company's chief financial officer to drive the once high-flying Medicare insurer out of business.

    Federal agents raided the headquarters of Universal Health Care in 2013, ordering employees to leave the building. The insolvent St. Petersburg Medicare insurer was then in the process of being liquidated by state regulators.
[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file photo]

  3. Aramis Ayala defends stance against death penalty: 'I did what I believe was proper'

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala on Wednesday strongly defended her "absolute discretion" to never seek the death penalty in murder cases as justices of the Florida Supreme Court bombarded her lawyer with pointedly skeptical questions.

    Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala, far right, said she was "very well pleased" with her lawyer's case. "I violated no laws." [STEVE BOUSQUET | Times]
  4. Tampa Chamber of Commerce offers boost to black and Hispanic-owned businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — There's a disconnect in Hillsborough County's minority business community.

    Gaston Meredith of Gaston's Culinary Services listens to LaKendria Robinson, Director of Minority Business Accelerator & Economic Inclusion during an information session at the Robert W. Saunders Library in Tampa on Tuesday.
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Wesley Chapel, Greater Pasco chambers of commerce merge

    Business

    LAND O'LAKES — Two chambers of commerce representing more than 850 business members from west Pasco to Wesley Chapel and New Tampa are merging into a single organization.

    Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Hope Allen will lead the combined chambers of commerce announced Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named chamber will represent more than 850 businesses that currenlty are members of the Greater Pasco and Greater Wesley Chapel chambers.
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]