59°
Forecast | Radar

Activate Account | Manage Account | Logout | Today's Paper
Today's Paper, also known as the e-Edition, is an online replica of the printed newspaper. You can view today's paper or previous issues.

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 24, 2008

More fear than cheer for retailers this holiday season

frontpageactionpoints.gif
1.gif
In holiday gift features, product reviews or ads, find an item you'd consider giving -- or would like to get.
2.gif
Look for an article or ad describing special sales this Friday for early-rising shoppers. Does it seem worthwhile?
3.gif
Can you find information about online deals in any ads or news coverage about holiday shopping?

It's a month before Christmas and easy to see
why many gift-sellers are feeling no glee.

Depressed stock market values, business bankruptcies, employee layoffs and other economic worries cast shadows over the holiday shopping season, which also includes Hannukah and Kwanza. So it's no surprise that moods aren't very merry at malls and local gift shops.

Retail sales have dropped each month since July, federal figures show, and October's slippage was the biggest one-month decline in 16 years. Electronic stores are particularly hard-hit, with Circuit City close 155 stores and filing for bankruptcy protection so it can reorganize. The Best Buy chain also is affected, as are national clothing stores such as Nordstrom, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.
And a critical time begins at the end of this week: America's holiday shopping frenzy traditionally kicks off on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when many big stores open early with cut-rate deals. Holiday sales account for as much as 80 percent of annual profits for many retailers.

So gift-sellers are trying to lure shoppers with hot offers, Web bargains and offbeat ads. Sears announced 450 specially priced items from 5 to 11 a.m. on Friday -- such as a Sony Blu-ray Disc player for $180, down from $300. The Gap e-mailed 30-percent-off discounts to 5 million customers for use before Thanksgiving and also created humorous Webisodes featuring such unlikely pairings of artists singing traditional Christmas songs -- designed to be shared through Facebook and downloaded to iPhones. Even Amazon.com sent out holiday promotions this month for the first time.

Shopper says: "I'm definitely cutting back. Instead of buying for everyone, we're drawing names. And I asked my kids for a very detailed wish list so I know exactly what to get." -- Lori Robson of Morgan Hill, Calif., near San Jose

Retailer says: "In 42 years of retailing, we've never seen such difficult times for the consumer. People are making dramatic changes in how much they spend." -- Brian Dunn, chief executive of Best Buy

Adviser says: "Consumers may need some encouragement to get into the holiday spirit this year. No interest, no payments, layaway offers, door-busters, one-stop shopping, and rebate incentives will all be welcomed." -- Scott Marden of Vertis Communication, a retail consultant in Baltimore

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2016
We welcome comments or suggestions for future topics: Click here to Comment

Front Page Talking Points Archive

Undrinkable water in Flint, Mich., is a signal of health risks from old lead pipes in other cities

Super Bowl 50: A veteran quarterback (Peyton Manning) and a young star (Cam Newton) face off Sunday

All-white acting nominees for movie Oscars revive a national discussion

The actor and the fugitive: Sean Penn's Rolling Stone interview with 'El Chapo' has critics

Annual tech event showcases amazing, useful and wacky electronic devices

The year ahead: Here’s some of what will make front page news during 2016

Protecting the planet: Nations pledge to cut fossil fuels and expand use of cleaner energy

New era for U.S. military: Gender no longer blocks women from infantry or other combat roles

New way to roll: Motorized balance boards are glitzy, costly and a target of concerns

Scary times: More than 30 governors resist federal plans to bring Syrian war refugees

Complete archive