Re­tail­ers hope big Satur­day will clinch sea­son

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

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

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