"There is no question that certain segments of retail are under severe stress as they fight tooth and nail for every dollar by offering steep discounts, ramping up marketing spends, expanding price matching, implementing extended layaway programs, increased spending on IT to make their omni-channel shopping experience a pleasurable one for consumers, and beefed up staffing in some instances" as big-box chains as well as specialty retailers have been feeling the pinch as consumers shift their spending habits to home and home furnishings, autos and electronics, Perkins wrote.
Before the month is out, Amazon and the other online retailers have more share to capitalize on.
According to the latest National Retail Federation survey, last-minute shoppers this holiday season plan to finish making their purchases online this year, according to a Monday release. The survey polled 6,324 consumers between Dec. 2-9, 2013.
Approximately 49.9% of NRF survey respondents said they plan to do the remainder of their holiday shopping online, the highest percent in the survey's 11-year history, NRF said.
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As of Dec. 9, prior to the most recent weekend, 32 million holiday shoppers had not even started shopping, NRF estimates. But approximately, 29.2% -- the largest percentage - plan to finish up their holiday shopping by Wednesday, Dec. 18.
As crunch time nears, retailers are doing all they can to grab shoppers.
Toys"R"Us said Tuesday that it plans to keep most of its stores open for 87 consecutive hours, beginning at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21 and continuing through 9 p.m. Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.
The Wayne, N.J.-based company also said that orders placed online by 12 p.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 23, using express shipping are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve. Shoppers can also use the "Buy Online, Pick Up In Store" option through 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and collect their items in-store within an hour. Customers can also ship to a store near a loved one and they can pick up a sent purchase, the company says.
Kohl's (KSS) said earlier this month that for the first time ever it would extend its store hours for more than 100 hours straight -- beginning at 6 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20 through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
So once Christmas comes, is that it for retailers? Not so fast, said the trade organization.
The NRF survey found that 9.2% of respondents celebrating Christmas will go online to shop that day, up from 4.9% from when the NRF first asked the question in 2009.
Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.