Expert: Holiday Shoppers Will Be More Selective

Agoura Hills, Calif., Nervous consumers are likely to make changes in where they shop this year, according to retail expert Stevan Buxbaum, VP of investors and consultants Buxbaum Group.

“People will move down a notch in their consumption habits,” Buxbaum said. “If they were department-store shoppers, you might see them a little more inclined to shop at Target. If they shopped at Abercrombie & Fitch last year, they may turn instead to a less-expensive retailer like Aeropostale. They will still be looking for strong fashion items, but they may go a notch down in terms of price.”

The issue of price may be especially important when it comes to European luxury items such as leather goods, he said.

Like last year, electronics will remain hot with holiday gift-givers this year, Buxbaum said. “The lower price point of flat-screen televisions has made them extremely desirable as gifts, and they will remain that way,” he said. “In addition, the price reduction on Apple’s iPhone will make it a strong potential purchase.”

Buxbaum also believes that accessory sales will remain strong this season, especially those for ‘one-size’ items such as handbags. The jewelry category, however, may struggle.

When it comes to apparel, much will depend on the season’s weather. “We stayed warmer than usual last year, and that slowed down sales of outerwear,” Buxbaum said. “That means a lot of that merchandise is back in the stores this year at heavy promotional prices. Those goods could move if the weather turns colder early on, but if it doesn’t, that merchandise is going to sit again.”

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