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Proof that shoppers are still in control? Frequent storewide sales

Posted by: John Ewoldt under Retail Updated: October 24, 2013 - 12:01 PM

ShopperTrak recently predicted a growth of 2.4 percent in holiday spending, but that survey was released in mid-September, before the government shutdown. Now with another possible shutdown looming in February, consumers could be clamping down on holiday spending even more than ShopperTrak predicted.

But this is a prediction that many shoppers already guessed. Those who sign up online to receive a retailer's promotions knew there was trouble ahead this holiday season long before the official predictions started coming out.

Why? It's the high number of national retailers still offering storewide discounts. Today, Oct. 24, Banana Republic is offering 40 percent off the entire purchases at its website using BRFALL discount code. Banana frequently has discounts of 30 or 40 percent off one or all items on Wednesdays. Sometimes customers need a discount code, sometimes not. The sales vary between online only or online and in stores. Similar promos are available at the company's other brands, the Gap and Old Navy if a customer signs up to receive them online.

"These storewide sales are absolutely proof of a retailer selling off its inventory to get in line with expected sales," said Dave Brennan at the Instiute for Reatiling Excellence at the University of St. Thomas. "You don't liquidate like that unless sales are soft."

Other examples of storewide discounts offered recently include CVS offering 25 percent everything online (use discount code OCT25 TODAY). Sometimes the discount is as high as 30 percent. The best deals are often on its private label brands.

J. Crew is discounting everything 25 percent for customers buying $150 or more who use the discount code SHOPNOW. Free shipping is included for orders over $150, but the discount is also available in stores for this promo (mention the discount code).

West Elm's home furnishings are discounted 10 to 25 percent, based on the amount spent.

Pottery Barn put its entire stock at a 15 percent discount over Columbus Day weekend. Crate & Barrel offered seven different sales with 15-25 percent discounts during the same period. It recently mailed a postcard to existing customers giving them 20 percent off everything for one day of their choosing.

As the holidays get closer, expect the savings to increase as retailers get nervous. Consumers who can afford to spend should see even better savings.

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