August 3, 2009

Retailers guessing on holiday orders

Retail analysts said the slow economy has left many U.S. purchasing agents guessing, unsure of how full inventories should be for this year's holiday season.

This holiday could represent very strong demand, said Kevin Sterneckert, director of retail research at AMR Research.

If retailers did not plan for strong demand, as many have not, they will be left with empty shelves and self-fulfill a very tough season, he said.

BIGresearch said recent surveys suggest consumers planning to spend less this year than last year far outnumber those who plan to spend more than they did a year ago. In a separate survey, RIS News said a majority of retailers indicated weak consumer demand will be their highest hurdle this year.

Dan Butler, vice president of retail operations at the National Retail Federation said stores are not going to want to overstock, but they're not going to go lean, either, and not hit their sales targets.