As 157 million Americans begin to stock up on candy this Halloween, retailers are racing to cash-in on the sugar rush. However, retailers, who plan to begin holiday celebrations and sales from Nov. 1, are keeping in mind the changing retail atmosphere while launching holiday-specific plans for this year.
A report by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in September said that the an average person would spend about $74.34 on Halloween celebrations this year, which would include costumes and props, as compared to $77.52 last year. The report also added that the total spending during Halloween is expected to reach $6.9 billion as the season becomes increasingly competitive, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Nearly 43.5 percent of Americans plan to wear costumes this year and the total spending on costumes is expected to reach $2.5 billion.
“Halloween is so different than it was even 10 years ago,” Kathy Grannis Allen, a National Retail Federation spokeswoman said, according to the Journal, adding: “The specialty stores will go out of their ways to find a costume that will be considered exclusive.”
A report by Reuters, however, said that candy manufacturers are worried that health conscious moves by consumers against Halloween candy is expected to waive off $2.1 billion, the estimated expenditure by Americans for Halloween by NRF.
As the retailers gear up to figure out different ways to increase sales, Wal-Mart and Target tweaked their discounts and shipping costs for the holiday season, reports said.
Wal-Mart announced Thursday that it will offer lesser "this weekend only" short-term deals for the holiday season as it gives discounts, aiming to get more customers by keeping more consistent pricing. The retailer also said, according to Reuters, that it will offer a new mobile application to bring down the amount of waiting time to pick up goods at the store after ordering online. Wal-Mart is also planning to get more food tastings and carols in stores to get entertain customers, the Associated Press reported.
"We will not be beat on pricing this holiday," Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer for Wal-Mart's U.S. operations, said, according to USA Today, adding: "That is our commitment to our customers. That's the promise of our brand."
Meanwhile, Target announced that, as it makes the holiday switch from Nov. 1, the company will not offer specific sales. The company has over 460 stores that also work as shipping warehouses, up from 100 last year. The company launched a feature that would show the exactly when the product would arrive, when placing an order online, instead of giving a general five-to-seven day window, USA Today reported.
"(We're) really making sure that we can reach as many of our guests as possible," Target CEO Brian Cornell said, according to USA Today, adding: "And letting the guest know exactly when (an order) will be delivered. That, we think, is a really important step for us."
Target will also let go of the $25 minimum cost threshold from Nov. 1 until Dec. 25. Best Buy announced last week that the largest consumer electronics chain in the country will let go of its $35 minimum, required for free shipping.