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ARG Report: Shoppers holding off until last minute

Charleston, S.C. – A telephone survey conducted over the weekend by America’s Research Group on UBS concluded that holiday sales could be lower than last year.

Among consumers that were not shopping, 95.1% said they will wait until Dec. 24 in hopes of finding more deals. They’re looking for discounts of 60% to 70%, according to the ARG.

“More shoppers are waiting for better deals and stores just aren’t giving them big enough discounts,” said Britt Beemer, ceo and founder of ARG.

Just 3.82% of parents said they have finished shopping for their children’s gifts.

Shoppers boosted their spending at Walmart, JCPenney and Kmart. The survey of 1,000 households found 27.6% of consumers said they spent the most at Walmart, up from 25.7% in 2008. Nearly 10% (9.9%) spent most at JCPenney compared to 6.5% last year. The “spent the most” ratio for Kmart rose to 5.1% from 2.6% last holiday season.

Still, Walmart was a dominant force, with 72.2% of consumers surveyed saying they shopped there for holiday compared to 69.1% in 2008.

As the season began, Beemer predicted retail sales will decline 2.9% compared to last year. He has been within a half of 1% in forecasting holiday sales in 17 of the past 18 holiday cycles.

ARG and UBS will conduct a Christmas Retail Survey every weekend through the holiday.



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