With Halloween Over, Retailers Prepare For Christmas Sales

Local retailers are eyeing price matching, free shipping and other ways to entice shoppers into stores.

As Halloween recedes in the rear-view mirror, locally based retailers in the Twin Cities are gearing up for one of the most important times of their years: holiday season.
 
It’s part of the trend of Christmas deals creeping closer to Halloween.
 
Analysts are expecting a big year, with the Associated Press reporting that consumer confidence is at a seven-year high of 86.9 (out of 100)—a number not seen since before the recession began in 2007.
 
Minneapolis-based Target Inc. is hoping to shake off last year’s disastrous holiday season, when tens of millions of customers’ credit card data was stolen. The company kicked off the season early by offering 50 toys at half off over 50 days. The company is also offering free shipping on all orders through Dec. 20 across the country and testing out same-day delivery in the Twin Cities, according to the Star Tribune.
 

Best Buy, based in Richfield, hasn’t fared much better in recent years. In 2012, the company’s website crashed during pre-holiday sales that caused delays and other issues. Sales for last Christmas fell short of analysts’ expectations, causing its stock price to drop nearly 30 percent in one day.
 
To prevent that from happening again, the company has downplayed numbers for the season, with CEO Hubert Joly predicting sales will be down both for the company and the industry as a whole.
 
But with a crop of new, flashy devices and the Consumer Electronics Association predicting a 2.5 percent increase in sales over the Christmas shopping period, some analysts speculate that Best Buy is simply managing expectations, according to the Pioneer Press.
 
“Should one look at some of these trends and have a bit more of a constructive outlook?” asked Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman in the paper.
 
Another factor in upcoming holidays sales: a brand new mall. Twin Cities Premium Outlets—the first mall to open in the Twin Cities since 2000—is expected to rake in 4 percent of the metro’s total sales with low prices on brand name goods, writes the Star Tribune.
 
Still, not everyone forecasts a rosy picture. Business leaders across the state told TCB in our quarterly economic indicator survey that they are concerned that Minnesota’s economy will cool over the winter months.