Wal-mart is piling on deals amid weak holiday season sales predictions

US retailers are making big discounts earlier than ever as predictions of the slowest holiday shopping season since 2009 may be underway.

Wal-mart, the worlds biggest retailer is deeply concerned over the upcoming shopping season, thus the company is already piling on fresh discounts. For example the top retailer is slashing the price a 32-inch flat-screen TV to $98, down from $148 last year.

Regarding economic conditions and a shorter holiday season, retailers are piling on deals as they try to attract for market share during the most important sales period of the year. For the fourth year in a row, disposable incomes in 2013 have only inched up. As result, low-income Americans will again have a less-merry season than affluent consumers, who are more flush thanks in part to a 26% rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index this year.

“We will be seeing promotions significantly above the current 30% off, which are the opening table stakes,” said to Bloomberg, Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a New Canaan, Connecticut-based consulting firm. “Stores have too much inventory, which doesnt bode well for 2014.”

As shoppers are expected to visit fewer stores this holiday, sales are projected to advance 2.4%, the smallest increase since the year the recession ended, according to ShopperTrak, the Chicago-based researcher. Sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday are projected to rise 2.2% year-over-year, researcher IBISWorld said yesterday.

“The consumer is more deal-driven than ever,” Ken Perkins, president of researcher Retail Metrics LLC, wrote in a Nov. 14 note. “Discretionary dollars for holiday spending are limited for the large pool of lower- and moderate-income consumers due to lack of wage gains this year coupled with the increased payroll tax.”

Wal-Mart, which has projected stagnant US comparable sales for the rest of the year and vowed to be aggressive with its promotions, stepped up on November 1 with its earliest-ever holiday deals.

The 21 analysts polled by CNN Money offering 12-month price forecasts for Wal-Mart Stores Inc have a median target of 82.00, with a high estimate of 90.00 and a low estimate of 75.00. The median estimate represents a 3.48% increase from the last price of 79.24. Analyst advise to hold the stock.

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