Not To Be a Grinch, But Holiday Shopping Is Looking Pretty Bad This Year

Even early black Fridays can't save the retailers

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Retailers are starting Black Friday sales almost a week early, but that might not be enough to save a dismal holiday shopping season.

ShopperTrak predicts sales growth of just 2.4 percent, the smallest increase since 2009, Bloomberg reports. Stores are rolling out deals with rock-bottom prices to clear excess inventory, as consumers are spending modest discretionary income earlier and earlier in the holiday shopping season. “Whichever retailers get those dollars first will win,” Candace Corlett of the consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail told Bloomberg.

So even though retailers like Macy’s will be open on Thanksgiving and Walmart is trying to pique consumer interest with big sales (like a television for $98), it might not be enough to save Christmas. Or Christmas sales, at least.

It’s not all bad news for retailers. Retails sales jumped 0.4 percent in October, their best gain since July, as Americans spent on cars, clothing and furniture and calmed fears that the government shutdown would dent consumer spending, the Associated Press reports. And JCPenney reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Wednesday.