• Retailers turn to 'after Christmas' deals


    (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) -- Thursday is expected to be the fifth largest shopping day of the year as retailers roll out end-of-year markdowns earlier than in previous years.

    Experts predict 8 in 10 people will take advantage of post-Christmas sales after a 3.1-percent drop in spending on "Super Saturday," the last Saturday before Christmas.

    Shoppers have been stressed for months by high unemployment and the government stalemate. Those concerns are combined with the shortest downtime between Thanksgiving and Christmas in a decade. As a result, analysts say retailers are now thinking about inventory management, rather than sales growth.

    Some of the same retailers who pushed forward holiday shopping to Thanksgiving Day resorted to "after Christmas" on the day before Christmas. Amazon.com began offering "after Christmas" deals of up to 70 percent off clothes and 60 percent off some electronics. Old Navy ran TV ads that its "after-holiday sale starts early" with discounts of up to 75 percent off.

    Stores are attempting to draw Americans who are still worried about the economy and have held tightly to their purse strings this year. Sales have fallen for the past three consecutive weeks.

    According to ShoppingTrak, sales dropped 3.1 percent to $42.7 billion for the week that ended on Sunday, compared with the same week last year. Stores had a problem even getting Americans into stores, let alone getting them to spend. The number of shoppers fell 21.2 percent during the week that ended on Sunday,

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