Retailers slashed prices nationwide this weekend in a bid to draw last-minute shoppers and lift a slumping holiday season, Bloomberg reports. Pressed by high gas and food prices, consumers are holding out for zero-hour deals; retailers have obliged with half-off sales and extra hours, counting on the last days before Christmas for 9% of season sales.
December has been slow, with sales growing only 0.6%, half of what analysts predicted; a forecasted 4% boost in holiday sales is the lowest in five years. Companies have responded with deeper discounts, but analysts fear they will hurt margins while driving traffic. “This season has been the year of the discount,” said one consultant.