Preliminary reports suggest that US holiday sales for the key two months October to Dec, rose .7% this year. This compares with a 2% increase during the same period last year and a 3 to 4% increase that many retail analysts had expected. See: US Holiday Retail Sales Growth Weakest since 2008.
Disappointing sales have left retailers over-stocked heading into 2013. This suggests aggressive discounting in the days and weeks ahead as sellers focus on liquidating inventory. High debt levels, low savings rates, under-employment, fiscal worries and high profile tragedies all serve to make consumers selective with what they buy today. In addition even those who can afford to buy have caught on to the perks of a de-leveraging world: lots of supply and weak demand lead to lower and lower prices so there is no rush or urgency to buy discretionary items. Cash and patience are king. Good things come to those who can wait.