Attention holiday shoppers: Don't feel blue if you missed Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Retail analysts say the best is yet to come, with discounts growing deeper as the week before Christmas draws nearer.

"The promotions we saw on Black Friday serve as a baseline for what's to come," says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of retail consulting and investment banking firm Davidowitz & Associates. "The best deals are never this early. It always gets cheaper the closer to the holiday ... the last couple of days before Christmas are when you see the best deals."

"Shoppers may find discounts of 40% to 70% off on targeted items," says Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman with the National Retail Federation. "Retailers are trying to make their final push and offer discounts on popular gift items."

Some retail analysts believe the discounts will be much broader and cover a wide array of items. They expect storewide sales to gain in frequency, along with such marketing strategies as buy-two-get-one-free.

What You Should Wait to Buy

Of course, retailers will be motivated to discount in some industry sectors more than others. You can expect better prices in the coming weeks on electronics, toys, clothing and accessories.

"The week before Christmas, the whole electronics department will be on sale with the most desirable items, which is something we didn't see on Black Friday," says Davidowitz. He added that the prices on flatscreen TVs have collapsed and that items from digital cameras to tablet computers will be thrown into the mix.

Indeed, Consumer Reports gave Black Friday shoppers a word of caution that some of the prices on its recommended electronics models like cameras, laptops, and TVs would be at least 5% lower in the weeks after Black Friday.

A kissing cousin to the electronics industry is the toy industry. And toys are expected to take a hit on prices, given there is no blockbuster new product to carry the industry, Davidowitz says.

Meanwhile, the clothing and accessories industry is expected to grow only 5.5% to $65.7 billion in November-December sales compared with a year ago. Last year, the industry grew at a slightly strong clip of 5.8%, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

"Apparel is the No. 1 gift item," Davidowitz says. "But as it gets closer to Christmas, you'll see a massive sell-off in apparel, where discounts will be up to 70%. Apparel is perishable [due to its seasonality] and it's discretionary, which is difficult when consumer spending is weak."

Few 'Wow' Deals on Luxury Goods

Other areas to troll for deep discounts are sporting goods, books and hobby and music items. The ICSC forecasts November-December sales growth of 1% to $26.5 billion, far below the 5.6% growth of last year. Retailers in these sectors will be particularly keen to give shoppers incentives to spend.

But consumers may have to dig deep to find any "wow" deals on luxury items. Same-store sales at luxury chain stores in November-December are expected to be stronger than last year, according to ICSC. Luxury stores are expected to post a 7.5% increase over the same period last year. That is better than last year's 6.7% increase over the previous year.

"There is less discounting going on in luxury items," Davidowitz says. "But if the stock market collapses and everyone in the financial services industry doesn't get their bonuses, then all bets on luxury items are off."

Calendar Countdown

The caveat with ongoing markdowns is that consumers can't be sure whether the items they most desire will not just be cheaper, but actually in stock during the final days before Christmas.

"Retailers have been careful with their inventory, much more so than last year," Davidowitz says. "But if you talk to the salespeople and ask them if the item is well stocked, they're usually pretty honest and will let you know if you need to worry or not."

As consumers weigh the best time to go shopping, consider the ICSC's Top Holiday Sales Days. According to their list, the busiest remaining shopping days of 2011 will be:

Dec. 3, Saturday
Dec. 10, Saturday
Dec. 17, Super Saturday
Dec. 18, Sunday
Dec. 19, Monday
Dec. 22, Thursday
Dec. 23, Friday
Dec. 26, Monday

Dawn Kawamoto is a Motley Fool contributing writer. She is heavily invested in the spirit of Christmas.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

what is with this holiday thing, it is a cop out. this is christmas. to have this changed by those who are not of faith is just a cop out of those who live in the usa. walmart has went back to saying merry chrirstmas and happy new year in our town,saying happy holiday to people is just a cop out of weak,MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

December 06 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


December 05 2011 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I did all my shopping, I'm done. I purchased gifts that were needed as opposed to just wanted. Mostly clothing items, shirts, sweaters, coats etc. At least these gifts will be used for a longer period of time as opposed to an expensive toy item, that eventually ends up just sitting in a closet or in the basement.

I have a few friends that are actually re-gifting toys. Their exchanging toys that are in great condition that their kids no longer play with. I think its a great idea, especially for younger children. Bobby's toy truck that he hardly played with or has totally lost interest in, makes a great gift for his cousin or a neighbor friend.

A gift doesn't always need to be expensive or brand new. Its the thought behind the gift that really counts.

December 05 2011 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Holiday shopping alert? What holiday is it? Is it Memorial Day? Labor Day? Columbus Day?

December 05 2011 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a small business owner I can tell you that articles such as this do more damage than good. If we are ALL struggling in this economy and having difficulty paying the rent, then why would cutting prices to the bone and that continue to put us in the RED be an idea that writters keep harping on?? When I shop, I like getting a deal as much as anyone else, but I also accept that paying a normal price at least part of the time should be expected. Such a normal act helps to keep people employed and build our country/economy. The new consumer motto should be be normal, spend normal for a better America!

December 05 2011 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just read where oil could be going up to 250. a barrel. That is enough to halt any spending for us, no matter who is going to have the cheaper deals.

December 05 2011 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The best deal is NOT buying things you don't need using money you don't have, or using money that can be saved for things you will really need later. That is if you still plan to be around when that happen.

December 04 2011 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

dearly people,
dont dont going to buy buy foolish around at shopping stores,
= remember the important thing to do =,
home budgets and payments, bills, insurances, vehicles / tags, gasolines, foods, taxes, health paperworks insurances, less travels, children schools, visiting elders old people homes, use computers onlines, keep works good jobs, be WISEs, less spending too much, avoid heavy debt credit cards

December 04 2011 at 4:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

read the true book------­­-Popsicle Toes-True story of growing up as the victim of the Bartow Florida Mall Rapist--[N­­OOK Book]---TH­­IS IS A CRAZY STORY IF YOU HAVE NOT READ IT YET------ its on barnes and noble at­­---

this is the Overview of the book---

This is the true life story of a little girl who becomes a victim as a baby of unspeakabl­­e child abuse from a half brother who is much older than her. He begins grabbing up his baby sister Anne out of her bed taking her to his room and raping her while both parents are passed out drunk. The story only gets worse as the abuse continues until the half brother (Danny) gets arrested for raping and kidnapping women by knife point at a mall. As a teen, Danny vandalized grave yards, raped, tortured and abused both animals and his siblings. (Editor's Note: This book contains mature, graphic content)

December 04 2011 at 2:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The government is losing billions in tax revenue due to the internet. I would guess that in the near future government house will try to stop that leak. Making a purchase without having to pay that sales tax is like getting a 7% discount to start with. I like it !

December 03 2011 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply