Consumers will be facing price hikes of up to 15 percent on holiday goods, from toys to European luxury handbags. Many retailers had resisted passing along higher prices to consumers, but escalating costs â€” fueled by rising energy prices, higher labor costs in China and a weak dollar â€” are forcing stores, from warehouse clubs to high-end merchants, to pass more of the burden to shoppers.
The price increases could make shoppers buy fewer holiday gifts to keep to a budget. That could mean a serious hit for the economy, since consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity and for the holiday period, which accounts for about 40 percent of merchants’ profits and 50 percent of sales.
Some price increases may not be felt as much as others. A 10 percent increase on toys, for example, may not feel as tough since toys are still cheap. The average selling price for toys last year was $7.45, according to market researcher NPD Group Inc. But those wanting to splurge on an Italian suit, priced at $1,700 last holiday season, will probably have to fork out an extra $170 this year.
It will be Christmas all over again for fans of television shows from the 70s, 80s and 90s this Christmas. In fact, Christmas will be bursting out all over on DVD:
November 11th will see the release of several new seasonal offerings:
Johnny Carson Celebrates Christmas costs $14.99, and will include 3 “trimmed” Christmas-themed episodes. By trimmed, they mean that they won’t include all the bits and pieces of each, but they will include appearances by guest stars Robin Williams, Garry Shandling, Tony Bennett and Bob Hope. There will also be hilarious holiday sketches, too. The DVD runs 72 minutes long. No extras are included.
For $24.99 you can also get a three-disc set of classic television specials featuring Bob Hope, Donny and Marie, and Sonny and Cher, also due out on November 11th.
It is approaching it’s 2nd birthday and yet anyone wanting a Nintendo Wii for Christmas had better start looking now. The Big Guy at Nintendo says the Big Guy coming down the chimney may have a hard time finding them come the holiday season.
“We are really intending to increase the shipments to the U.S., especially compared to last year,” says Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s global president and CEO. “However, I can’t give you a 100% commitment [that you'll be able to find a Wii this holiday season]. What I can commit myself to is that Nintendo is going to do its best to supply as many Wii hardware units as possible in order to meet demand there.”
Iwata says demand for the device in the U.S. is unusually high in contrast to either Europe or Asia. The company is on schedule to produce 2.4 million Wiis this year and will allocate additional units to U.S. retailers. Still, it has been caught off guard by the popularity of the Wii in America.
“We could not imagine it would be that high,” he says.
The shortages haven’t stopped Nintendo from becoming the best-selling console in the U.S and the world. To date, 10.9 million Wiis have been sold domestically, pushing the Xbox 360 from Microsoft into second place.