Business News

CCTV Script 20/11/17

— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on November 20, Monday.

Sears has been reeling from billions in losses and sputtering mall traffic. Now the company is increasingly turning to a time-honoured retail tactic: putting everything on sale.

The U.S. department-store chain embarked on its most aggressive holiday sales ever this month, marking down its entire inventory by 10 per cent to 50 per cent. The company's Kmart chain is taking a similar tactic, with "unprecedented" discounts of as much as 40 per cent. Even in a sea of retail promotions, the discounting binge stands out. But some analysts say that Sears can't be saved by Black Friday.

Shares of the ailing retailer slipped to an all-time low last week, as concerns about a potential bankruptcy mounted. Year to date, Sears' shares have been plummeting by nearly 55 percent, with a 7.4% daily drop during the last trading session. This marks an obvious contrast with Amazon, the leading player for the so-called "new retail".

Shares of Amazon have been well supported recently by market expectations for another strong holiday season.

The e-commerce giant's stock price has been up by 50.6%.

The comparison on shares between these two companies may somehow reflect the trend that e-commerce is quickly eating up the market share of traditional retailers.

According to a survey by PwC, only 35% of shoppers said they would focus their shopping plan on Black Friday, while the ratio was 59% in 2015. On sales, last year, Cyber Monday was the largest online sales day in history, according to Adobe data: shoppers spent a record $3.39 billion online on Cyber Monday last year, up 10.2% year over year.

But don't lose hope for Black Friday just yet, which, according to industry analysts, would be alive and well for this holiday season - with a little change.

What was once a post-Thanksgiving ritual of racing out to retail stores, has become a lasting two-week long shopping carnival. Retailers and e-commerce sites started to roll out their "countdown to Black Friday" deals a week earlier before Thanksgiving, and some even last until a week after Cyber Monday. These all indicate that Black Friday deals are more continuous than date-specific.

Consumer spending over the Black Friday weekend is expected to increase by 47% from the same period in 2016. According to RetailMeNot's survey data, consumers plan to spend an average of $743 this year during the weekend that runs from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. That figure is up from an average of $505 over the same weekend last year. The survey data suggest that nearly seven in 10 consumers will shop over the Black Friday holiday weekend this year.

CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.