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Just When Exactly Is Retail's Super Saturday?

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Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sofa Sunday, Mobile Sunday, Green Monday, Cyber Monday, Red Tuesday, Free Shipping Friday. Yes, these are all real things that the retail industry has come up with to get you to part with your money in the typically robust holiday gift-buying season.
 
The final big retail event of the year to join the onslaught of retail inventions is Super Saturday, the Saturday right before Christmas where retailers hold one-day markdowns and consequently ring up blockbuster sales from the flurry of last-minute Christmas gift-shopping and impulse buying. Super Saturdays can bring in as much as $15 billion in revenue for retailers, a number significantly bigger than the $11.4 billion reported for this year’s Black Friday.
 
This year, however, Super Saturday falls on Christmas Eve, and businesses are worried that the deep discounts might come too late for shoppers who won’t have time to hit stores that day. Given the recessionary Christmas spirit that has lingered over the retail sector, with post-Black Friday sales figures severely disappointing, weak Super Saturday sales numbers might be the death knell to retailers who are hoping to salvage their year.
 
As such, some stores have taken proactive action and moved Super Saturday up by one week to this coming Saturday, eight full days before Christmas Day.
 
The New York Times reports that national chains like Macy’s (M), J.C. Penny (JCP) and Aeropostale (ARO) will hold their Super Saturday deep discounting events on Dec. 17. However, others like Victoria’s Secret (LTD) and Skechers (SKX) have decided to stick to the literal interpretation of Super Saturday and will host their one-day sales only on Dec. 24.
 
This lack of cohesion and coordination in the marketing strategies of big chains could end up hurting sales if shoppers, already frazzled with the inundation of the myriad of sale events like today’s Free Shipping Day, get confused about the different dates on which stores plan to hold their respective Super Saturdays.
 
Adding to the confusion are chains like Gap (GPS), whose Gap and Old Navy divisions will hold their Super Saturday sales events tomorrow while its higher-end Banana Republic stores will do so next week. And Walmart (WMT), which will have a markdown on prices this Saturday even though it will not be termed a Super Saturday event because the big box chain had already employed the term in November.
 
Undoubtedly, given the sluggishness of the retail sector, it’s a buyer’s market out there and shoppers who haven’t already bought their Christmas presents can expect to find great bargains in the week to come. The problem might just be finding out when these bargains will take place.
 
(See also: Will Free Shipping Day Be the Retail Sector's Late, Great Hope?, Lousy November Retail Sales Numbers Prove Black Friday Headlines Were a Joke & Don't Be Fooled by These 3 Retail Sales Tricks)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.

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