Today turkey. Tomorrow to the mall. As the official start of the holiday shopping season looms, the experts know exactly how much money you are going to spend between now and Christmas and what you will spend it on.
Here’s the scoop. With gas prices falling, optimism among some is rising.
The National Retail Federation was so giddy about the pump price slide, it raised its forecast this week from 5 percent to a heady 6 percent increase in spending compared with the 2004 holiday season.
Also new this week, according to industry watchers, The Boston Consulting Group, "Middle-market American consumers will reduce overall spending during the holiday season."
Other predictions fall all over the board. Standard & Poor’s said Wednesday that you’ll spend 3.5 percent to 4 percent more than last year.
The same day, The Conference Board Consumer Research Center said you’ll spend a little less.
Both base their forecasts on shopper polls.
It shows you can prove anything with a survey.
It all depends on how you ask the questions.
But here are some things all the experts agree on.
Gift cards and electronics will be on many gift lists. More people will shop online this year than last. And retailers will be offering lots of discounts between now and Christmas, not just on Thanksgiving weekend.
Here are more things that are "for sure."
This will be the last holiday season you’ll be shopping at several favorite retailers.
Some that will cease to exist, we won’t know about until January when the chief financial officers tote up the season’s haul and figure out which way their teetering businesses teetered.
Some stores are destined to disappear regardless of how much you spend next month.
S o if Robinson’s-May, Casual Corner, Petite Sophisticate or Crane & Co. are your favorites, you might be able to snap up bargains while you shed a good-bye tear.
Casual Corner, Petite Sophisticate and Crane & Co. are already staging clearance sales. Robinson’s-May won’t hold its massive storewide clearance event until late January.
Also deep discounting items now so it can clear out in January, is the Kmart at Hayden and McDowell roads in Scottsdale. It will make way for a planned L owe’s Home Improvement Warehouse to open later in 2006.