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This week’s bomb cyclone may be thanking post-Christmas bargain hunters. This is why.

If you didn’t get the gift you wanted for Christmas, there’s a good chance you can still get it before the end of the year. Even better, at an even bigger discount.

An arctic blast that brought extreme cold, rain, heavy snow, and high winds to the United States the week before Christmas likely kept many last-minute shoppers at home. That’s bad news for retailers, who may find themselves with more inventory than they want at this point in the year, but good news for consumers looking for bargains, according to analysts.

Retailers were already swamped with inventory as the holiday approached, as unsnarling supply chains unleashed a slew of late-arriving merchandise just as inflation reached a 40-year high, squeezing consumer spending. They hoped to clear much of it through earlier holiday sales and a final push in the final week before Christmas, especially since shoppers had an extra full weekend to spend this year. Then Mother Nature intervened.

“We could see some significant discounting now with retailers desperate to clear inventory,” said Sonia Lapinsky, managing director in AlixPartners’ retail practise. “Once January arrives, it’s “dead time” for retailers.”

How much money was lost as a result of the “bomb cyclone”?
According to the National Retail Federation, 52% of consumers planned to shop the week before Christmas before the “bomb cyclone” hit (NRF).

According to Sensormatic, a company that provides retail insights and solutions to businesses, the Friday before Christmas is expected to be the second busiest day after Black Friday after Thanksgiving.

“We suspect retailers likely experienced worse-than-expected traffic trends across the country as the well-reported “bomb cyclone” winter storm likely kept shoppers out of stores,” Morgan Stanley equity analyst Alex Straton wrote in a report. Furthermore, because the cold temperatures, snow, and rain peaked in the final days before Christmas, “eCommerce demand may not be sufficient to offset likely poor in-store sales results.”

This combination could cause retailers to barely meet or even miss fourth-quarter sales estimates, making the final week of the year critical, he said.

What will happen now, and how will consumers benefit?
Increased and improved sales.

Post-Christmas sales are nothing new, but this year they may be better than usual because “retailers may be forced to offer deeper discounts post-Christmas to clear through excess inventories,” according to Straton.

Not only is it expensive to store large amounts of inventory, but there aren’t many items that retailers can keep for a year because styles and preferences change, according to Lapinsky. Retailers must make room for new inventory.

Where could we find the best deals?
Analysts believe that small luxuries that fell by the wayside as consumers tightened their belts in the face of the highest inflation in 40 years may now be affordable.

Clothing and accessories are among the most popular, and it’s not just ugly Christmas sweaters and candy cane earrings. According to Lapinsky, inventory at top clothing stores had increased 30% over last year and 26% over 2019.

“They’re going to have to clear it,” she said, implying that now is a good time to restock holiday items, complete your children’s wish lists, or even buy a few things for yourself.

With “The Target Clearance Run,” which began on December 26, Target launched an aggressive post-Christmas sale, blanketing television and print media. Thousands of home essentials, clothing staples and shoes, jewellery, toys, cosmetics, and deals on other must-have New Year’s Eve items are on sale.
Department stores may have a mountain of inventory to unload as well. According to Straton, major department stores saw lower-than-expected foot traffic despite higher discount activity than last year. Nordstrom, for example, is offering an additional 25% off clearance items, while Bloomingdale’s is offering an additional 30% off clearance items.

Other significant sales can be found here.

Medora Lee is a personal finance and money reporter for USA TODAY. You can reach her at mjlee@usatoday.com and sign up for our free Daily Money newsletter every Monday through Friday for personal finance advice and business news.

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