For the fourth year in a row, disposable incomes in 2013 have only inched up. As result, low-income Americans will again have a less-merry season than affluent consumers, who are more flush thanks in part to a 26 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index this year.
Faced with wary shoppers and a shorter holiday season, retailers are piling on deals as they jockey for market share during the most important sales period of the year.
Wal-Mart is dangling a 32-inch flat-screen TV for $98, down from $148 last year. More than a dozen retailers are opening earlier, or for the first time, on Thanksgiving Day.
“The consumer is more deal-driven than ever,” Ken Perkins, president of researcher Retail Metrics LLC, wrote in a Nov. 14 note. “Discretionary dollars for holiday spending are limited for the large pool of lower- and moderate-income consumers due to lack of wage gains this year coupled with the increased payroll tax.”
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