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East Coast Storm Could Hinder Holiday Sales

12/18/2009 09:19:37 AM Eastern
New York - A major snow storm is expected to blanket much of the East Coast on the final shopping weekend before Christmas.

The storm could have a significant impact on total fourth-quarter sales, as consumers on average had completed only 46.7 percent of their holiday shopping by the second week of December, surveys show.

What's more, nearly 42 million people (19.1 percent) had not even started their shopping by mid-month, according to the poll by BIGresearch and the National Retail Federation (NRF), as consumers wait out dealers for expected last-minute bargains.

Indeed, a separate study by American Express shows that 31 percent of procrastinators are holding out for the best deals, and that 21 percent of all shoppers plan to wait until next week to complete their holiday purchases.

According to NRF, 22 percent of procrastinators said they will shop electronics stores, and 38 percent said they will also shop online.

To date, 39.7 percent of all shoppers have purchased entertainment software, video games and books as gifts, and 21.8 percent selected CE products, NRF said.

The retail trade association is forecasting a 1 percent decline in total holiday sales from last year.
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