Shoppers Can Expect Deeper Discounts As Retailers Struggle

Season Could Be Worst In 30 Years

This year's holiday shopping season could be one of the worst for retailers, but that will likely mean deep discounts for shoppers looking to save money.

It comes after sales dropped nearly 3 percent last month -- 8 percent without Wal-Mart, one of the bright spots in the industry, 6News' Renee Jameson reported.

Traditionally, retailers offer markdowns of up to 40 percent to draw in shoppers during the holiday season, but this year the discounts could be as much as 75 percent, said Theresa Williams of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

That's because shoppers aren't spending like they have in the past.

"If you noticed on Black Friday, after the door busters at 5 a.m. until noon, after those were gone, the cars were gone," she said.

Williams said cautious holiday shoppers will not be spending as much and will be using cash or debit cards instead of credit to make their purchases. Also, brand loyalty will likely play less of a factor this year, as shoppers search for the best deal possible.

As for retailers' fate after the dismal holiday season, Williams said those that were struggling before the downturn, may not make it.

"You'll see the fallout of weaker businesses and it's not because they become weak in that quarter. They've probably been struggling for a year or longer," she said.

Shoppers out Thursday night said that they were concerned about the economy, but looking forward to the deals.

"It's sad, but I'm not heartbroken over prices dropping," one man told Jameson. "It's always nice to have lower prices."

At 50 to 75 percent off, Williams said that many retailers will be lucky to break even at the end of the season. But she said the good news is that many businesses have become more efficient at managing inventories since the last recession.