Jan. 3 likely to be among buy­ers’ busiest

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Abha Bhat­tarai

There’s Black Fri­day, Small Busi­ness Satur­day and Cy­ber Mon­day. Now an­other fren­zied af­fair joins the shop­ping lineup: Hol­i­day Hang­over Day.

This year, it falls on Tues­day, Jan. 3, the day most Amer­i­cans head back to the of­fice.

Ac­cord­ing to sale-track­ing web­site Brad’s Deals, re­tail­ers see a dis­cernible uptick in on­line sales on that day, as Amer­i­cans log in from their cu­bi­cles to buy jew­elry (of­ten for them­selves), fit­ness equip­ment (to ful­fill those pesky New Year’s res­o­lu­tions), and bed­ding and linens (which prom­ise a fresh start to the year). Last year, there was a 15 per­cent spike in on­line sales on Mon­day, Jan. 5, com­pared with sur­round­ing days. The year be­fore, it was 10 per­cent.

“Shop­pers are get­ting back into their daily rou­tines. They’re back in the of­fice, sit­ting in front of a com­puter again, with a list of things Santa didn’t bring and a stack of gift cards they have to spend,” said Re­becca Lehmann, a spokes­woman for the site, which coined the phrase “hol­i­day hang­over day.” “It’s a per­fect storm that adds up to a big­ger-than-usual shop­ping day.”

This hol­i­day sea­son has been a good one for re­tail­ers. Over­all sales are ex­pected to be 4.9 per­cent higher than they were last year – mark­ing the largest jump in sales growth since 2005, ac­cord­ing to Cus­tomer Growth Part­ners, a re­search firm in New Canaan, Conn. On­line sales, mean­while, are on track to grow 15 per­cent.

Amer­i­cans “are shop­ping at a rate not seen since the mid-2000s,” Craig John­son, pres­i­dent of Cus­tomer Growth Part­ners, told the Wall Street Jour­nal this week.

Now re­tail­ers are hop­ing to keep some of that mo­men­tum go­ing.

A few days af­ter Christ­mas, the daily-deals site Zulily was ad­ver­tis­ing “Ev­ery­thing you need for Christ­mas next year,” while J. Crew Fac­tory sent out e-mails that said, “PSA: It’s OK to shop for your­self again.”

It’s no se­cret that re­tail­ers have long re­lied on af­ter-Christ­mas sales to help clear ex­cess in­ven­tory and rack up sales. This year, 48 per­cent of Amer­i­cans — and 80 per­cent of mil­len­ni­als — said they plan to shop in af­ter-hol­i­day sales, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by the National Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion.

“The new year brings shop­pers into

stores for many items, es­pe­cially fit­ness,” a spokesman for Sears said in an e-mail, adding that the com­pany will kick off its semi-an­nual “blowout sale” on Jan. 1, with deals on fit­ness equip­ment, jew­elry and home ap­pli­ances.

The hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son be­gan ear­lier than ever this year, with more than 40 per­cent of Amer­i­cans say­ing they had bought their first present by Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by the National Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion.

The big­gest shop­ping day so far: Dec. 17, when an es­ti­mated 156 mil­lion Amer­i­cans turned up to spend.

And in­creas­ingly, con­sumers say they’re look­ing to buy for them­selves, too — par­tic­u­larly af­ter the hol­i­days. Amer­i­cans are ex­pected to spend an av­er­age of $139.61 on them­selves this sea­son, up from last year’s $133.74, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey.

“Many shop­pers are tak­ing the ap­proach of ‘One for you, two for me’ this hol­i­day sea­son,” said Shay, with the National Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion. “Re­tail­ers are pre­par­ing by of­fer­ing a wide ar­ray of mer­chan­dise and pro­mo­tions — items shop­pers want to give as great gifts at prices so good they want to buy for them­selves too.”

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