Monday, December 22, 2008

Consumers' Demands For Good Deals Seriously

If you're looking for an extra bargain before the holidays, you may only have to ask. With holiday sales shaping up to be the lowest in years, possibly the worst since the industry began annual comparisons in 1969, retailers say they're taking consumers' demands for good deals seriously. Some are extending return policies, while others are matching competitors' prices. Many are volunteering on the spot discounts and even letting customers haggle prices well down from what's marked in a desperate bid to make the cash register ring. More and more consumers are doing just that, treating a trip to the mall like a visit to the used car lot. Shoppers are also being far more savvy about asking retailers to match a competitor's lower price. With sales slow at virtually all retailers, experts say customers now have the upper hand. And even some who don't explicitly ask for a discount or price-match are pressing for better deals. For some retailers, desperation is setting in. The new year brings new inventory, so retailers typically try to clear out the old stock by year's end. Stores are increasingly willing to do whatever they can to get rid of merchandise even offering discounts on the spot. Other retailers are giving consumers more wiggle room for returns instead of haggling over prices.

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