Consumers, Retailers Scramble as Holiday Season Begins

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With the holiday shopping season underway, a Purdue University retail expert believes it will be a good few weeks for consumers seeking bargains, but a potentially soft period for retailers. Richard Feinberg predicts holiday sales could be roughly 5 percent lower compared to last year. He adds that consumers throughout the country are still expected to spend around $600 billion leading up to Christmas. In a special preview of this weekend's Inside INdiana Business Television, Feinberg and hhgregg Inc. (NYSE: HGG) Senior Vice President of Marketing Jeff Pearson discuss holiday retail trends.

Feinberg released his holiday retail sales projections in October. At the time, he stated sales would range from flat to 5 percent lower.

He says consumers want to spend, but they don't have as much disposable income, compared to years past because of unemployment, the end of a social security tax cut and a payroll tax increase.

Some of the hottest items this season are expected to be televisions, tablets and other technology-related items.

Retailers are continuing to adjust to the changing consumer landscape. Feinberg and Pearson point to "showrooming," where customers will use their smart phones to look up prices at other retailers.

Pearson says hhgregg workers are encouraged to immediately match a lower price a consumer may find on a competitor's website.

Source: Inside INdiana Business