Time is running out for retailers to recoup from a disappointing November — making this "Super Saturday" weekend all the more critical.
Though the bulk of the holiday shopping season is already in the rearview mirror, six of the 10 busiest days still lie ahead, according to ShopperTrak. The last-minute push kicks off this weekend, on what will be the final full Saturday for holiday shopping.
A rush of cold air across the Northeast and Midwest should give retailers a boost over the crucial period, spurring demand for winter gear that never materialized last season. Yet even as shelves are stocked with less merchandise, deep discounts and price deflation will make it challenging for retailers to record sales gains.
Though there is one additional Saturday before Christmas this year, many retailers will close their doors early on Dec. 24. So the bulk of last-minute weekend spending is expected this weekend, according to ShopperTrak.
"They've really got to have a good day because the traffic levels have been pretty anemic," Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, told CNBC. "It's going to be difficult to make up [for a soft November] ... but a strong weekend would go a long way toward salvaging the holiday season."
Government data released Wednesday painted a disappointing picture for November, which traditionally kicks off the holiday season. Not only did the headline number come in shy of expectations, but critical segments including general merchandise and electronics stores reported negative results from the prior year.
Retailers and analysts have said that trends picked up later in November, after the election results were tallied. They've also pointed to a stronger October, saying that early promotions pulled some consumer spending forward. Combined with the fact that many shoppers wait until the last minute, these factors indicate that consumer spending remains strong, and the season could end on a positive note.