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Why Bundling Up Won’t Cost a Bundle

This year’s mild winter may have a gift in store for post-holiday shoppers, say retail pros: Deeper discounts on jackets, sweaters, scarves, and boots.

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Retail sales for the week ending Christmas Eve were up 4.3% compared to the same week last year, but sales of winter apparel have been slow, according to the Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index released this morning. Some retailers are starting to cut prices on outerwear, the report noted. “Weather driven” demand for winter jackets is down 7% this year compared to last year, according to Planalytics, a research firm that focuses on the effect of weather on businesses, while demand for boots is down 17%. “This December has been very warm, and that’s helped foot traffic, but the warm weather has suppressed demand for things like sweaters and boots,” says Evan Gold, a senior vice president for client services at Planalytics.

Those slower holiday sales should mean deeper discounts in the coming weeks, retail experts say. “There’s a runway for those items. They’ve got to be out by the end of January,” Gold says. Most retailers will start pushing spring items in February, and for many, the end of January is the end of their fiscal year, so they need to sell those winter items, he says.

Of course, retailers’ post-holiday sales always include discounts on outerwear, says Dan de Grandpre, the CEO and editor-in-chief of DealNews.com. So far, discounts on winter gear are about in line with the deals offered last year, de Grandpre says. Traditionally, discounts get deeper further into January, starting at “outdoorsy” retailers like L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, and REI, and moving into the department stores and other retailers, he says. “There are substantial discounts still coming,” and slower sales likely mean shoppers can expect to find their size and favorite color on the clearance rack in a few weeks, he says.

Stores may also offer “just-in-time deals” whenever the weather does turn colder, says Michelle Madhok, an online shopping expert and the founder of SheFinds.com. Online retailers in particular can change prices quickly to capture the shopper who’s waited to buy a winter coat until it actually starts snowing, she says.

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    • JJ, steve jobs was a visionary and is reblnosispe for pushing the envelop. Maybe you haven’t purchased apple products but you certainly have a PC and maybe a smart phone. Face it apple products are up market, but it is apple products that have proven viability for certain things(pc’s, portable mp3 players, smart phones). Jobs saw what nerds were playing with, got them to build things with mass market appeal and marketed the hell out of them. Nerds had pc’s before the apple and had mp3 players before the ipod and had smartphones/pocket computers before the iphone. None of these things appealed to the masses, they were expensive and didn’t work well, Jobs identified what would give them mass appeal and pushed his engineers to build such things. Regardless of whether or not you appreciate apple products, you can appreciate windows the way it is because of apple pushing the envelop, and android phones because the iphone drove a similar product at a lower price with fewer restrictions. Apple and Steve Jobs singlehandedly created devices which opened up new markets, even his fiercest competitors acknowledge this.Jobs was not the nicest man and pushed his engineers hard, sometimes with crazy requests and was largely the beneficiary of their ingenuity and hard work. He was absolutely ruthless in business but the fact remains the world is better for it, sometimes the end justifies the means. He brought great products and computing to the masses.

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