PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- If you're not finished with your holiday shopping, don't worry about it. Retailers are really pulling for the procrastinators this year.
We're in the waning days of the Christmas shopping season and retailers are running out of both times and Thanksgiving night, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are but memories. Online retail favorite Green Monday is upon us and the only retail holiday left on the calendar is Free Shipping Day on Dec. 18. Though a Google survey predicted that 44% of U.S. shoppers would wait until early December to start attacking their Christmas lists, the always-optimistic National Retail Federation says only 3.9% of Americans planned to still be shopping for Christmas presents by the last two weeks of December.
With the way this holiday season has unfolded so far, though, it wouldn't be too surprising to see shoppers still rushing around looking for deals. November was somewhat of a wash for retailers, with JCPenney (JCP) reporting a 10% uptick off of a terrible 2012, but Macy's (M), Target (TGT), Nordstrom (JWN) and Kohl's (KSS) all somewhat worried about same-store sales despite Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. Thomson Reuters estimated that November comparable sales at several chain stores would rise 2.7%. Of the 11 companies they track and have reported so far, same-store sales rose just 1.8% That's similar to the 1.6% same-store sales increase Thompson Reuters reported last year, which was much lower than the 3.3% analysts had predicted.
You know it's grim when the NRF estimates that spending during the holiday weekend fell 2.9%, to $57.4 billion. Even worse, they predict that consumers spent on average 4% less this year compared with last year. That's especially disheartening for retailers who were encouraged when the U.S. economy grew 3.6% in the third quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The 5.4% jump in retail sales from the same period in 2012 -- which outpaced the 4.2% growth from a year ago -- was also. And it's not like retailers have a lot of time to turn that around. Of the $42.3 billion in online sales last holiday season, less than $6 million was spent in the days following Free Shipping Day. The $4.3 billion made during Christmas week, though, was a bigger haul than stores made on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day combined.We consulted with the folks at consumer site Lifehacker and found the best buys retailers are offering this late in the season. While stores usually don't get into a really charitable mood until the after-Christmas sales, discounts on the following five items help goose the numbers a bit:
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV