Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting for analytics firm RetailNext, said one way retailers can capitalize on post-Christmas shoppers is by previewing their spring and resortwear lines next to their sale merchandise (resortwear is typically made up of swimsuits and warm-weather apparel meant for after-holiday traveling). That way, they aren't just getting rid of extraneous merchandise at deep markdowns, but they're also sparking interest in their full-price offerings.
"Your goal ultimately is to get that customer to buy lots of sale stuff, because you want to get out of that merchandise, but also, you know, trying to sell some regular-price merchandise," Kohan said.
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That's not to say shoppers won't be holding out for deals. DealNews has already put out a list of things that consumers shouldn't buy before Christmas, because they're sure to go on sale after the holidays. Those items include clothing, fitness gear and laptops.
Because of these discounts, along with the fact that much of the activity after Christmas is tied to returns, ShopperTrak predicts the 26th will rank lower in terms of sales than traffic, coming in as the sixth-biggest sales day.
"All of that tends to put a little downward pressure on the sales volume side, but there's plenty of upside for the traffic," Martin said.
Another thing that could put a damper on post-holiday revenue: Planalytics' Bernhardt said there's a potential storm threatening to hit the Great Lakes region on Christmas Eve and then move east, which could keep shoppers home. But Bernhardt cautioned that it's too early to tell whether the storm will take shape and potentially dent sales.
Regardless of how the weekend plays out, DDR CEO Dan Hurwitz stressed that people shouldn't place too much emphasis on one day of the year. While speaking on a panel earlier this month, he said that because of the "enormous" gift card business, the Christmas season now rolls past December and into January, so one weekend doesn't paint an accurate picture of the season.
"Retailers have figured out they don't have to take markdowns on Dec. 26 right away, because people are going to come in and redeem their gift cards," he said.