The countdown to Christmas is almost over, and many retailers don't have a lot to be merry about. Bobbi Rebell reports.
It's crunch time for retailers on Christmas Eve, and many may be in for more pain than gain. According to Thomson Reuters data, holiday sales, which includes November, December and January, are expected to rise just 1.2 percent. Three percent is considered healthy. Discounts at physical stores have been deeper than last year, but still not enough to boost foot traffic. Store activity is moving online, making it tougher for retailers to tempt shoppers, according to Thomson Reuters Director of Consumer Research Jharonne Martis: (SOUNDBITE) JHARONNE MARTIS, DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, THOMSON REUTERS (ENGLISH) "It used to be that the shopper used to walk into the store and feel overwhelmed about all the promotions in a very limited amount of time, so, as a result, they would do a lot of impulse shopping. Now, what we are seeing is that all these deals are moving online ahead of Black Friday and even extending into Christmas. So, as a result, the consumer has more time to do online comparisons, price research, and think about purchasing the item." That's been a big boost to online retailers, especially Amazon. In fact, for every $1 of e-commerce growth, Amazon is getting $0.51. according to Macquarie. Martis says inventories remain high, and retailers will be slashing prices even more in the New Year.