The aggressive promotions appear to be working. In a note to investors on Wednesday, Citigroup boosted its forecast for fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth to near 3 percent, listing holiday shopping as a contributing factor.
"Consumers have responded to widespread holiday discounting among retailers," the note said.
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Whereas 30 or 40 percent off was once considered a substantial discount, it appears 60 is the new magic number. Among the companies peddling post-Christmas deals: Gap is offering up to 60 percent off, with a $25 GapCash reward for every $50 spent; Express is also advertising up to 60 percent off, and Ann Taylor is pushing an extra 60 percent off all sale styles.
The specialty retail sector is expected to post lackluster fourth-quarter results, partly due to the lack of an overriding fashion trend.
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Elsewhere, Nordstrom—which recently abandoned its half-yearly sales cadence—said customers can save up to 50 percent off select items through Jan. 4, and Victoria's Secret is holding its semi-annual sales event. And privately held Brooks Brothers is advertising items up to 50 percent off through Friday.
As many shoppers have grown tired of endless emails about discounts, some retailers are trying to spice up things up with New Year's Eve-specific bargains. Old Navy, for example, is offering 31 percent off online purchases on Dec. 31, while DSW is giving its rewards members $20.15 off a $99 purchase.