Brick and mortar stores offer a lot of discounts, but their margins are eroded, partly due to fierce competition from online retailer Amazon, says retail analyst Mary Epner. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Patt Wyatt comes to New York City around Christmas for its legendary holiday spirit, but not necessarily to hit the stores for gifts. She checked off most of her shopping list online. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAT WYATT, HOLIDAY SHOPPER, SAYING: "I bought clothes for myself. And what else have I bought? Oh, you just fall on things. My husband's bought me the most beautiful pair of earrings." A recent Reuters poll shows more and more customers do their holiday shopping either solely or primarily online, looking for better deals, and avoiding crowded stores. And that's one of the reasons retail analyst Mary Epner calls this holiday season lackluster. (SOUNDBITE) MARY EPNER ANALYSIS CEO MARY EPNER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The stores are getting sales, but the margins are eroded. They are offering bigger discounts than they ever have before. Part of it has to do with Amazon, and the lower prices that one can get online. So, stores are having to match it, and they are. And, so, there's also been a lackluster presence of people in stores after Black Friday. So, the time between Black Friday and Christmas really slows down, and that's become more pronounced this year." Epner adds that this year there are not enough 'must have' items to really drive full price sales, like this year's hot seller Snapchat glasses where demand outpaces supply. For kids, Hatchimals are hot enough to get top dollar, but they are the exception.