Retailers hope big Saturday will clinch season
CHICAGO/ SECAUCUS: The last shopping weekend before Christmas kicked off with great weather, but not the throngs of shoppers retailers and investors were hoping would clinch a season that has so far beat expectations.
In New Jersey, Chicago and Los Angeles, the last Saturday before Christmasdubbed "Super Saturday" by retailers-appeared fairly unremarkable: a busy day, to be sure, but not extraordinarily so.
Ramesh Swamy, a retail analyst with Deloitte, had visited several malls around Los Angeles and reported feeling "overserviced" in some.
"When I would walk into one of these stores, I would get a lot of attention because there weren't that many folks in there," Swamy said. He also said some apparel retailers were "just clearly desperate" with as many as 100 "75 percent off signs" in just one section of their stores.
The Saturday before Christmas is typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year as last-minute shoppers look to finish off their Christmas list. The 2010 season got off to a strong start on the day after Thanksgivingknown as "Black Friday"-and analysts are expecting this to be the best holiday season for retailers since 2007.
A downpour in Southern California aside, the weather on Saturday was far better for retailers than last year, when a blizzard slammed the Northeast, cutting into sales on "Super Saturday." "It's a super day for shopping," said Scott Bernhardt, the chief operating officer of Planalytics. "Ninetyplus percent of the nation is enjoying very good shopping weather, especially compared with last year." -Ap
TEHRAN: Iranians fill their vehicles in a gas station in central Tehran, Iran, Sunday, , after Iran's president on Saturday announced the start of a plan to slash energy and food subsidies, part of government efforts to boost the country's ailing economy. -Ap