Stores discount holiday goods more than last year

Holiday Shopping
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) — If it seems like the discounts stores are offering are bigger than during last holiday shopping season, that’s because they are. And some of the best deals are happening now.

Average price cuts this year on many items from clothing to jewelry are higher than last year, according to Market Track, which reviewed weekly circulars of 11 top retailers from Nov. 1 through Dec. 20.

But the discounting wars are particularly being waged online in the final days before Christmas. In fact, 220 of the season’s hottest products online in cookware, desktop computers and toys are now selling up to 40 percent below their prices on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, according to Market Track.

For instance, as of Wednesday, Bestbuy.com is selling a Keurig coffee maker for $99.99, 42 percent below its Black Friday prices. It’s also selling Apple iPad mini 3 for $236.99, 41 percent below Black Friday. And J.C. Penney’s is discounting Lego’s Crazy Action Contraption kits to $27.99 on its website, 42 percent lower than Black Friday.

“There has been a definite shift to more discounting throughout the season,” said Traci Gregorski, vice president of marketing at Market Track.

The deeper discounting online on certain items as the season progresses shows that retailers are under pressure to compete among themselves and online rivals like Amazon.com.

Eight out of 13 product categories are averaging higher price cuts than last year, says Market Track, which reviewed weekly circulars of 11 top retailers from Nov. 1 through Dec. 20.

Jewelry is averaging a 56 percent discount so far this season, higher than last year’s 53 percent, while clothing discounts averaged 42 percent, higher than the 40 percent last year, according to Market Track’s analysis of store circulars. Footwear discounts averaged 36 percent, compared with 30 percent last year.

The late discounting has been good for some last-minute shoppers. Kristin Evon of Ann Arbor, Michigan, says she shops for Christmas gifts all year and had been done for six months. But she was out looking for bargains on Sunday.

“It’s all like 65 percent off in there,” she said. “I almost feel like I got better deals today than I did on Black Friday.”

At Kohl’s, outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Jesse Garcia said he saved $204. He waited until this past weekend because he figured he would get better bargains.

“If the sales aren’t as good early on, they start dropping, giving you more incentives to come into their store,” he said.

Janus Titus was visiting Manhattan from Colorado Springs, Colorado last weekend. Titus said she had started holiday shopping on Thanksgiving night and purchased a wide range of clothing at Kohl’s and other stores for 50 percent off. Then, she took a breather after the holiday weekend.

“I do feel like I got better deals in clothing than I did last year,” Titus said.

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AP Business Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to the report.

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