Nov. 1 - Walmart kicked off its holiday shopping deals one month early in what could be retailers' slowest holiday season in four years. Fred Katayama reports.
Christmas right after Halloween? Sounds freaky, but Walmart jump started its holiday sales season nearly one month early, offering huge online discounts on 7 items and deals on 360 others. For example, it's chopping 40 percent off the price for a 42-inch JVC LED HDTV at under $300. Normally, U.S. retailers launch holiday sales on Thanksgiving in late November and the day after, and they set aside heavily discounted bait online for "Cyber Monday" on the Monday after Thanksgiving. But here's why retailers want to get a headstart this year: this holiday season offers six fewer shopping days than last year. And the economy is still sluggish, with consumer confidence falling last month amid the government shutdown. ShopperTrak forecasts the slowest growth in holiday sales in four years. So get set for big deals. Morgan Stanley predicts this will be the most promotional holiday season since 2008. Holiday shopping is prime time because retailers get the bulk of their annual revenue during this season that ends with Christmas. Walmart shoppers may be particularly hard hit. Many of its shoppers live paycheck to paycheck.