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Best Time to Buy Holiday Gifts

December 3, 2012
Plain English Version

What is the key to getting the best deals during holiday shopping? Experts say it is watching individual stores as they evaluate their daily sales numbers. Stores will be hinting through their ads how well they are doing.

They expect this holiday season will not be as good as last year. West coast sales will be better than the east coast hit by Hurricane Sandy. Luxury goods will sell on the west coast, while home improvement items will sell on the east.

Some retailers’ make as much as 70 percent of their annual sales around Christmas. If their sales projections are down, they may plan last-minute sales of 70 to 80 percent off regular prices.

Retailers are trying to get you to come into their store, where you might buy more than you plan. And if you enjoy the experience, you may come back again.

How to take advantage this holiday season: think ahead. Know what you want to spend and what stores you want to spend it in. Compare deals especially on the Internet or through ads. Decide if you will shop online or in the stores.

If you must have that certain something for a child, figure out in advance where you will buy it and how much you will pay. And remember, retailers want you during your free time – on weekends and after work. They will offer their lowest prices then.

If you have one, take your smartphone loaded with shopping apps. It will tell you where the best buys are and whether they are in stock.

Avoid shopping the weekend before Christmas. The merchandise is getting old and the sales staff is getting tired.

The Wall Street Journal

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