WMU News

Several factors lead to holiday shopping bargains

Dec. 6, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Fallout from the recent West Coast dock workers' lockout, coupled with declining customer loyalty and increased e-commerce competition are costing retailers time and money, says Kelly Weathers, who teaches visual merchandising at Western Michigan University.

"This holiday season is going to be a feast of discounts," Weathers says. "There's an air of caution among consumers, and everybody will be scrambling for your dollar."

So many more people are doing their holiday shopping online, she explains, and competitors like e-Bay and others are cashing in. At the same time, the lockout snafu slowed the delivery of holiday orders from ships to store shelves, causing some retailers to cancel their orders and scramble to find replacements. Those who don't have the option of canceling are at risk of receiving their merchandise too late.

Either way, the situation bodes well for consumers, Weather says. "When the manufacturers get these canceled orders back, they have to find a way to get rid of it, and that could mean sending the goods directly to stores that offer deep discounts. And for those retailers who still accept their orders, they're marking down the merchandise as soon as it comes in, because it's already a loss to them," she explains. "The timeframe in which retail works now is so rigid and severe that if you miss the boat, you're just left standing there."

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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