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Post-Holiday Sales Won't Fix Spending Doldrums


There are maybe fewer shoppers, but at least those looking for great post-Christmas deals had plenty of options this past weekend. Retailers offered deep discounts in hopes of making up for weak holiday sales. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports from Chicago.

(Soundbite of traffic)

CHERYL CORLEY: There are lots of shoppers on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, the stretch of Michigan Avenue full of high-end stores. Dawn Veech(ph), a hairstylist from Indiana, was looking for bargains.

Ms. DAWN VEECH: I didn't do as much spending this year as I usually would for Christmas, trying to be cost conscious kind of thing. So I'm hoping to catch those things I actually need now.

CORLEY: And some stores were offering rock-bottom prices on some items. Wendy Galagher(ph) of St. Louis had just finished shopping at Macy's department store.

Ms. WENDY GALAGHER: If you use your Macy's card, you get 20 percent off off-the-bat and then a lot of things are 50 percent off, so...

CORLEY: All right, you've got a couple shopping bags there.

Ms. GALAGHER: We do.

CORLEY: So you did well?

Ms. GALAGHER: We did.

CORLEY: A good deal on a purse, a coat, and some clothes. McCilley Calhoun(ph), who was shopping with Galagher, says it was obvious many stores are hurting.

Ms. MCCILLEY CALHOUN: I used to be in retail, and there's way too much on the racks for this time of year. I mean the shelves are like they were before Christmas, you know, it should be - the racks should be bare.

CORLEY: Scott Krugman, with the National Retail Federation, says the weekend after Christmas is now becoming just as critical for the industry as is Black Friday, the beginning of the holiday shopping season on the day after Thanksgiving.

Mr. SCOTT KRUGMAN (Vice President, Public Relations, National Retail Federation): The week after can account for anywhere from 15, even 20 percent of total holiday sales.

CORLEY: And now, says Krugman...

Mr. KRUGMAN: The name of the game is clearing the shelves and getting that merchandise out the doors and freeing up cash.

CORLEY: And that's why retailers are offering very aggressive post-holiday promotions. The true picture of just how their businesses fared during the holidays will come early next month, when stores release their December sales figures.

Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.