UAB experts: holiday discounts to be less deep and numerous

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Retail experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say you can expect to save less this holiday season.

Dr. Bob Robicheaux of the UAB Department of Marketing says retailers are more prepared for 2009 than they were in 2008. "The economic tsunami was coming ashore during the holiday season of 2008, but this year is different," says Robicheaux. "Retailers have had ample time to prepare for current consumer trends, which means large discounts and sales may not be as common."

The executive-in-residence in the Marketing Department at UAB, Mickey Gee, says retailers have been tracking the trend of consumer spending during the past year. "Last year retailers were caught with large inventories that were ordered well before the financial collapse and had to deeply slash prices to move merchandise," says Gee. "This means retailers have bought only merchandise that they think offers real value to customers, and they have bought in fewer quantities to ensure entire inventories can be moved without the need for major price cuts, which can lead to retailers actually losing money."

Lauren Skinner, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of Marketing at UAB, says consumers need to act on early deals due to the fact that the deals just may not last. "When store inventories are lower there are fewer opportunities for consumers to purchase," Skinner says. "This means that consumers are taking on more risk if they try to wait for a specific item to drop significantly in price, because they could to miss out altogether if that item sells out early due to lower supplies."