holiday shopping season

U.S. Economy Gets Lift From Consumers, Businesses

American consumers are growing more confident about the job market, companies are ordering more equipment and home prices are rising in most major cities. The latest batch of government data suggests that the economy is improving just as the holiday shopping season begins. The only threat is a package of huge spending cuts and tax increases, known as the "fiscal cliff," that will kick in unless Congress strikes a budget deal by year's end.

Walmart Tests Limited Same-Day Delivery of Online Orders

Walmart is testing same-day delivery of televisions, toys and other general merchandise bought online in a few U.S. markets as it tries to find new ways to keep up with competitors and to attract busy shoppers this holiday season.

Black Friday Reveal: Not Such a Deal After All

If you're one of the throngs of shoppers who camp out all night outside the nation's stores before Black Friday in hopes of nabbing a huge deal when the doors swing open, you've been duped.

Target CFO: We're Skipping the Holiday Season's Low-Price Wars

Don't expect crazy markdowns at Target when you shop for gifts this holiday season. The trendy discounter is opting out of the winter price wars, counting instead on its trendy exclusive collections to lure customers. And if that means it loses sales to rivals, that's OK by Target.

Toys R Us Waives Fee for Layaway Program

Toys R Us is making it easier for shoppers to use its layaway program ahead of the crucial holiday season, waiving its service fee and minimum purchase requirement beginning Tuesday.

Retail Sales Inched Up in Dec. to End Record Year

Retail sales inched up by just 0.1% in December, but the gain was enough to lift sales to a record level for 2011. It marked the largest annual increase in more than a decade, and confirms that the economy was strengthening as the year ended.

Holiday Shopping Season Stronger Than Expected

The holiday shopping season is wrapping up to be bigger than anyone expected. Now, retailers are holding their breath and hoping consumers will keep spending in the final days before Christmas.

US Online Holiday Shopping Climbs 15% to $30.9 Billion

U.S. shoppers spent 15 percent more in online holiday buying compared to last year, after what may have been the busiest week of the season, said research firm comScore on Sunday. Shoppers have spent $30.9 billion online from Nov. 1 through Dec. 16, up from $26.9 billion at the same point last year, said the Reston, Va., company, which tracks Web use.

Top Retail Trade Group Upgrades Holiday Forecast

With the final Christmas countdown begun, the National Retail Federation has upgraded its holiday sales forecast, reflecting growing optimism that much more spending is to come. The NRF now expects holiday sales to rise 3.8% to a record $469.1 billion. That's up from its more modest 2.8 percent forecast made in early October, though it's hardly stellar.

Just in Time for the Holidays, a Bad Economic Mood

Americans say they feel worse about the economy than they have since the depths of the Great Recession. And it's a bad time for a bad mood because households are starting to make their holiday budgets. It might not be all doom and gloom, though. Sometimes what people say about the economy and how they behave are two different things.

Holiday Shopping: Self-Gifting Is On the Rise

Recession-scarred shoppers are tired of cutting back, and they're ready to give in to their pent up spending impulses, experts say. So after a few years of austerity, this holiday season, many people are going to be splurging a bit more on presents for themselves.

Retailers Shouldn't Expect Much Holiday Cheer

The holiday shopping season is looking pretty bleak for retailers. Best Buy recently announced that it plans to hire fewer holiday workers than it did last year, and now new data from the consumer research group NPD suggests that Best Buy won't be the only chain stuck in a holiday sales rut.

Retailers Already Trying to Fend Off the Grinch

It's hard not to sound like the Grinch these days: As we head into the holiday season, unemployment remains painfully high, and August 2011 saw a 47% increase in layoffs compared to last year, with no growth in hiring. Poverty stats are equally dismal, with the cost of living rising. Here's how retailers are responding.

Robust Retail Sales Lift Merchants' Holiday Spirits

The holiday shopping season is off to an even better-than-expected start. New government figures show November totals rose 0.8% from October and 7.7% from November 2009, supporting retailers' recent view that the recession is finally losing its hold on shoppers.

Holiday Hiring Takes a Hit, Despite a Brighter Economy

Retailers and shipping companies are adding fewer new jobs than they did a year ago. One reason for the low number is that employers began shopping for seasonal workers earlier than usual, boosting hiring in October. If retail sales hold up, December could see more hiring.

Overspending: A Tale of Christmas Past

Overspending during the holidays can ruin your finances for months. Read how writer Zoe FitzGerald Carter learned to create more Christmas magic for her family by spending less.

A Dose of Bah, Humbug for Holiday Sales Growth

Major retailers are reporting healthy gains in November revenues, adding more evidence that holiday sales will be significantly higher than last year. But reading that as a sign of a wider economic recovery may be giving too much credit to what turns out to be a tiny sliver of U.S. GDP.

Inventories Rise 0.9%, Suggesting Stronger Growth Ahead

In a sign that holiday sales season will be better than initially expected, business inventories rose 0.9% in September as companies re-stocked their shelves for the nation's busiest shopping period. The increase also suggests that third-quarter U.S. GDP growth figures may be revised upward.

U.S. Consumer Spending Grew in October

U.S. consumer spending grew about 7% in October from September, but remained down 5% from the same month last year, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

Where Shopping Is Going Strong: Online

ComScore reports online retail spending rose 9% year-over-year in the third quarter. Such positive growth -- the fourth straight quarter of increasing cyberspending -- going into the fourth quarter could bode well for the upcoming holiday shopping season.