Big deals come early

In a bid to spread holiday cheer (read: get folks spending), retailers are expected to offer steeper discounts earlier this year.

Driving the news: Many major shopping destinations started Black Friday sales two weeks in advance, experts told Bloomberg, and, per Square’s holiday retail report, Canadian retailers plan to offer shoppers an 18% discount on average (a higher rate than U.S. stores).

  • Retailers are able to do this thanks to inflation in many product categories finally cooling down, with some brands even dropping select items to pre-inflation prices

Why it’s happening: The consumers have spoken: They don’t plan to spend big on holiday gifts this year. One Ipsos poll found that 88% of Canadian shoppers plan to spend the same or less on gifts this year, while the Square report found 69% aren’t buying big-ticket items. 

  • Retailers hope that having bigger bargains before temperatures even hit subzero will change shoppers' minds and convince them they actually do need that new TV.

  • Savvy stores are also using early discounts to get shoppers on sales floors more than once, pricing down some items now and other ones later to lure buyers back. 

Big picture: If Walmart, the barometer for the retail industry, is any indicator, stores need this tactic to work. Wally World’s shares fell ~8% yesterday after the company reported a cautious holiday sales forecast, experiencing “somewhat uneven” sales since last month. 

Bottom line: If you’re waiting for Black Friday next week to score some major deals, we admire your patience, but there’s a good chance what you want could be on sale now.—QH