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December 27, 2012

Stores look to week after Christmas for sales

NORMAN — Bargain-hungry Americans will need to go on a post-Christmas spending binge to salvage this holiday shopping season.

Despite the huge discounts and other incentives that stores offered leading up to Christmas, U.S. holiday sales so far this year have been the weakest since 2008.

So stores now are depending on the days after Christmas to make up lost ground: The final week of December can account for about 15 percent of the month’s sales, and the day after Christmas is typically one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Stores, which don’t typically talk about their plans for sales and other promotions during the season, are known for offering discounts of up to 70 percent after the holiday. This year, they’re hoping to lure more bargain hunters who held off because they wanted to get the best deals of the season.

Still, a powerful winter storm, which pounded the nation’s midsection Wednesday and is heading toward the Northeast, could hurt post-Christmas shopping. The storm is bringing high winds and heavy snow that disrupted holiday travel, knocked out power to thousands of homes and were blamed in at least six deaths.

The Macy’s location in Herald Square in New York was bustling with shoppers Wednesday. Ulises Guzman, 30, a social worker, was shopping in the store. He said he waited to shop until the final days before Christmas, knowing that the deals would get better as stores got more desperate.

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