"Now is a great time to buy," says Retail Analyst Kurt Barnard, because retailers left with an overabundance...now have to make generous price cuts...
"It was soft early on, people weren't buying sweaters and coats because of the warm weather." Target Manager Mark Schoorr
Warm weather wasn't the only factor contributing to the significant chill in this year's holiday sales numbers...up less than 4% over last year.
Americans worried about layoffs, volatility in the stock market and a fluctuating world economy are changing their habits.
"Americans are saving more and spending less," says Barnard.
The only bright spot in an otherwise miserly season was the discount chain...where good returns outnumbered the bad...
"We did real well," says Schoorr, " we exceeded our expectations and had a lot of people shopping in here throughout the season."
For the rest of the industry, continuous markdowns may be the only way to clear the decks...and the halls.
"You're going to see more sales all through January," says Barnard.
And if the New Year leaves traditional retailers with a headache...analysts don't predict much relief. They say within the next few years, twenty-five percent of the market will be on-line, over the internet...changing forever the way we shop.