Shoppers flock to stores for after-holiday salesby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Turnout was relatively heavy at the Mall of America in Bloomington today, as shoppers hunted for post-Christmas bargains and sales reports continued to spread gloom.
Consumers spent at least 20 percent less on women's clothing, electronics and jewelry during November and December. That resulted in what may be the biggest holiday-shopping sales decline in four decades.
Overall, consumer spending, excluding car and fuel purchases, dropped an estimated 2 to 4 percent this month and last. The estimate comes from a MasterCard service that tracks consumer spending.
With Christmas now over, retailers figure to get even more aggressive on pricing. Retail consultant Howard Davidowitz says consumers will likely see deep post-Christmas prices cuts at stores, as retailers scramble to shed inventory.
"The consumer will respond to rock bottom prices," Davidowitz said. "It's the only thing they're responding to. We're in the worst Christmas in 50 years and the only thing consumers are going to respond to is rock bottom prices."
But Davidowitz expects many stores will stir up enough sales to allow them to survive. He said the country has too many stores. Davidowitz forecasts 12,000 stores will close next year. That's on top some 8,000 store closings this year.