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Post Holiday Blowout Sales: A Boon or Bust for Retail?

The slow holiday selling season never really got off to a running start and post-Christmas sales may prove little help despite rampant promotions to get shoppers into stores.

This year, Christmas sales started earlier than ever and will likely go longer, too.

In its Post Christmas Promotions report, the Fung Business Intelligence Centre (FBIC), said some after Christmas sales started before Christmas.

“Just as Black Friday sales have crept earlier each year, post-Christmas sales have, too. Some started as early as December 20 this year as retailers have competed aggressively for shoppers and tried to move stagnant inventory,” the report noted. “Many after-Christmas sales will extend all the way to New Year’s Day this season.”

With retailers desperate to clean out inventory after a lackluster holiday selling season, sales—though fewer than Black Friday—will likely boast deeper discounts and better quality.

And with no major holidays on the horizon until spring, FBIC said retailers won’t be holding back this week.

“They are offering deep discounts on Christmas items (including trees, wreaths, ornaments and wrapping paper), electronics (such as laptops, desktops, TVs and gaming products) and higher-end clothing, especially designer clothing,” the report noted. “Many are also offering great sales on fitness equipment to take advantage of consumers’ perennial New Year’s resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle.”

Macy’s held its One Day Sale the day after Christmas, with stores opening at 7 a.m. and the sale featuring 25 percent off all clearance items and free shipping for many online buys.

Kohl’s, which stayed open for 170 hours straight from Dec. 17 through Christmas Eve to lure last-minute shoppers, is now offering up to 70 percent of select items in its post-holiday sale that started 7 a.m. Dec. 26 and will run through Jan. 2.

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Nordstrom started its Half-Yearly Sale online Christmas Day, with as much as 50 percent off apparel and shoes, Target is giving shoppers who use its Cartwheel app an additional 20 percent off clearance, and Walmart, which opened 5 a.m. the day after Christmas and didn’t close its doors for 24 hours, offered no-minimum free shipping as its biggest bargain.

Amazon, ever the leader of the e-commerce pack, is offering post-Christmas discounts of up to 70 percent off men’s and women’s apparel and Kindle books, plus as much as 50 percent off toys, games and electronics.

Some retailers have resigned themselves to the fact that despite these added discounts, the season isn’t what they’d hoped and the spring will be tougher than they’d planned.

But according to The Wall Street Journal, retailers will have to wait this week out before concluding on the state of this holiday season.

For one, Christmas on a Friday meant two additional days off for shoppers to shop, which hasn’t played out that way since 2004, and with gift card giving up more shoppers were looking to spend over the weekend.

An American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, in fact, found that nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they’d be buying on Dec. 26, more than the 45 percent who said they would shop on Black Friday—shoppers said they expected a greater likelihood of deals post-Christmas.

“The day after Christmas has changed from ‘the new Black Friday’ into a day that eclipses it in terms of dollars spent and especially visits to shops,” The Wall Street Journal noted. However, with promotions as plentiful as they currently are, early gauges of the holiday season should be put on pause. “The dust has only just settled.”