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Retailers Gearing Up for Holidays

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Retailers have pulled up their socks and are coming up with numerous strategic measures as they take the final lap before the onset of the key holiday season. From lucrative discounts to flexibility of shopping through smartphones and tablets to free shipping and 24-hour shopping, they are leaving no stone unturned to make the most of the busiest shopping season of the year.

These measures are not new, rather the retailers’ initiatives to match the prices being offered by online retail giants in order to rise to the competition is a new trend.  Discount retail chain Target Corporation (TGT) and beleaguered consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy Co. Inc (BBY) announced that they will offer their patrons the facility to match the prices being offered by Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (WMT) Walmart.com and Toysrus.com.

The move comes at a time when most of the brick-and-mortar retailers are facing significant challenges from a concept called ‘Showrooming.’ Technological advancements have led to the emergence of a new type of consumer, who compares the prices offered by various companies through smartphones and tablets, and thereafter buys the product at the best price available.

As a result, online shopping is seeing a sharp uptrend while traditional retailers are losing millions. The changing environment prompted retailers to develop new sales strategies, with the prime focus on combating online retailers.

According to the Target’s price matching policy, the customer will not find any discrepancy in pricing if an item is bought between November 1st and December 24th from Target stores. However, if the item costs less at Target.com or in a local competitor’s printed ad, Target will provide items matching the price.

Further, to better serve the shoppers, the retailers are ramping up their hiring plans. Retail giants such as Macy’s Inc. (M), Target Corporation, Wal-Mart Stores, Kohl’s Corporation (KSS) and Toys “R” Us have announced their hiring plans for the upcoming holiday season.

Going forward, with the raging competition and price wars, the players who will be able to cater to the needs of discerning consumers will bolster volumes by ensuring foot falls and margin expansion and will have the last laugh.

Further, the ratio of converting shoppers to buyers will also rest on the continued economic recovery and improvement in the job market. This will ultimately boost consumer confidence and increase discretionary spending.

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