Silver Lining News

Dec 23, 2003

By George Anderson

The news isn’t good.

Retailers are not having the type of holiday selling season they were hoping for.

So, again, the news isn’t good. On the other hand, it’s not altogether bad either.

In a growing number of cases, consumers are choosing to skip the holiday shopping experience that includes searching for a parking space (and later the car), waiting on long
lines, encountering out-of-stocks, and dealing with nerve-frazzled shoppers and store staff.

Instead, consumers are going online to make purchases or making quick trips to a store to pick up gift cards and let others do the real shopping.

Stephen Grubba, a consumer from S.C. told USA Today, “I went out yesterday to pick up a couple of small items, and I almost went nuts driving around the shopping malls.
I kept saying to myself, ‘Thank goodness for online shopping!’ “

Wal-Mart, according to another report in USA Today, has found “heavy demand for holiday gift cards is slamming December sales.”

Moderator’s Comment: Will the 2003 holiday season still be characterized as disappointing once gift cards are redeemed and online revenues are factored
into total sales?

From an accounting standpoint, much of that depends on when gift cards are redeemed, since they cannot be booked as revenue until that time. The good news
here is that the large majority of gift cards are redeemed within 30 days. Retailers are counting on after-Christmas discount sales to drive traffic before the end of the year.
Anderson – Moderator

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