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Sluggish start to holiday shopping season could mean good news for consumers

Many retailers are hoping Cyber Monday will provide a nice bump in business to help with a mostly sluggish start to the holiday shopping season.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Many retailers are hoping Cyber Monday will provide a nice bump in business to help with a mostly sluggish start to the holiday shopping season.

Most estimates figure the Thursday through Sunday tally was lower than expected.

There was still a rush of shoppers to stores on the first few days of the holiday shopping season, but with the season starting on Thanksgiving and even earlier at some stores, the whole season has been spread out.

“Everything is on sale, so the sale factor is almost numbing itself out because that's all we've got right now. So you really have to look at the finite number of dollars someone is going to spend over this period,” explained Amanda Nicholson, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.

Nicholson says that retailers have a very short shopping season to work with between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and explains that the economy is not exactly booming at the moment.

"This is a financial gamble they're going into, but it's a controlled gamble,” Nicholson said. “They're looking at their margins on a daily basis and figuring out how they can do this."

Nicholson says given the lackluster start to the shopping season, shoppers can expect deep discounts as it gets closer to Christmas, but warns there's a gamble for consumers as well.

As prices decrease and mark downs become more common, stores will more likely be out of the size or color consumers are looking for.

Nicholson says retailers expect Cyber Monday to generate about $2 billion - which is helpful - but still small in the overall holiday shopping picture.

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