Record Super Saturday Sales Signal a Consumer Spending Revival

Shopping and Spending on the reboundIf you thought holiday shoppers were going to take a breather after Black Friday, you thought wrong.

Following a record Black Friday on Nov. 24, retail sales hit new heights on Super Saturday, Dec. 17 -- the penultimate shopping Saturday before Christmas and a day when retailers trot out themed sales promotions. It's a sign that many consumers have rebounded from the recession and unleashed pent-up buying demand, according to a new report from Customer Growth Partners, the retail and consumer products market research and consultancy firm.

Super Saturday pulled in approximately $26 billion in retail sales, breaking the record of $25 billion set in 2007, according to CGP, which tracked business at the nation's 35 biggest retailers.

Those Americans who are employed have "refinanced their homes and cut down on credit card debt, so many consumers are a lot healthier than they were a few years ago," Craig Johnson, CEO of CGP, tells DailyFinance.

And now they're ready to part with some coin. "There's a lot of pent-up demand. People stopped spending during the recession whether they had a job or didn't have a job."

Johnson noted the Federal Reserve's household debt service ratio -- which measures how much disposable income goes to paying down debt -- is at 11%, its lowest level since 1994, down from its peak of 14.1% in the fourth quarter of 2007.

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But beyond the seemingly improved financial health of American shoppers, retailers are finally giving them a reason to buy, he says. "For the first time in years -- since well before the recession -- there's some newness and excitement in the stores," particularly in apparel and consumer electronics.

Some hits this year with shoppers include Macy's (M) exclusive clothing line from iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld, and Versace's apparel collection for H&M. And in consumer electronics, shoppers were enticed by new e-readers, tablet computers like Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire, and smartphones.

CPG predicts that consumers might even spend more on Black Monday -- the day after Christmas -- than they did on Super Saturday, with more shoppers "self-gifting" this holiday season.

Target (TGT), for one, is wooing shoppers with a Black Friday-style sale on Dec. 26. The retailer will offer discounts of up to 50% off on popular women's and kids' clothing, as well as home and holiday decor. Doors will open at Target stores at 7 a.m. on Monday.

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Record Super Saturday Sales Signal a Consumer Spending Revival

For the edgy teen girl in your life, these fingerless gloves from Madonna's Material Girl juniors line, $16, have been hot this season.

Betsy Johnson's glam sequin handbags, $98, are also selling briskly.

And Macy's shoppers have apparently caught the Bieber fever. The department store's exclusive Justin Bieber teen fragrance Someday, at $55 for a 3.5-ounce bottle, is a bonafide hit. Shoppers get a complimentary heart-shaped quilted bag with any purchase of $45 or more. Dreamy.

The department store's exclusive Xersion packable down coat, at $50, is a strong seller. It's super lightweight, comes in a range of colors, and rolls into a small bag for easy transport.

Single-serving coffeemakers, including Keurig's B60 model for $150, "are taking the market by storm, and Keurig is the leading brand in the category," says a J.C. Penney spokesman.

In keeping with a popular design trend this year, rose-gold watches from J.C. Penney's exclusive Liz Claiborne line have also been strong sellers this season.

DVD sales of the hit movie The Help, which racked up five Golden Globe nominations last week, have been robust at Target. The DVD retails for between $19.99 and $46.99, depending on format and whether you buy it in stores or online.

(prices are subject to change, as the chain will be running sales.)

The album Adele 21 from soulful chanteuse Adele is one of the top-selling CDs this holiday at the discount chain.

(prices are subject to change, as the chain will be running sales.)

The Michael Buble - Christmas deluxe edition CD, a Target exclusive from the Frank Sinatra-style crooner, has also been a popular gift purchase. It retails for $16.99.

(prices are subject to change, as the chain will be running sales.)

Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Dolls from MGA Entertainment, namely, Crumbs Sugar and Cookie Jewels, are blowing off the shelves -- and it's all about the hair. Kids can twist, bend, straighten or curl the locks on these dolls every which way, for a virtually unlimited variety of hairstyles. Each doll, priced at $39.99, comes with a hairstyling brush, hair accessories and a pet whose tail can also be styled.

Parents are clearly betting their kids will go wild for Air Swimmers eXtreme, a product Toys R Us buyers discovered on YouTube. For $39.99, the battery operated, fish-shaped metallic balloons, a Toys R Us exclusive, "swim" through the air via radio control. Available in shark or clownfish designs, the four-foot-long Air Swimmers are easy for kids to maneuver around small spaces. And parents can relax: They're designed to bounce off the walls and objects without causing any damage, the retailer says.

Toys R Us has also found a hit in My Keepon, an exclusive at the toy chain. This robot from Wow! Stuff sports yellow, textured skin, reacts to touch, can listen to music, decipher a beat and dance in rhythm. It retails for $49.99.

Designed in Paris, Sephora's exclusive Makeup Studio Blockbuster has been selling briskly for $49.50. The portable makeup studio includes 96 shades of eyeshadow, 84 shiny lip glosses, six cream eyeliners, two eyeliner pencils and three blushes ranging from subtle and natural tones to bold and trendy hues -- as well as a bronzer, mascara and four applicators.

The Hello Kitty five-piece brush set is keeping sales purring at Sephora. The $55 set includes a medium face brush to apply loose or pressed powder; an eyeshadow brush with a multipurpose flat head for the eyelids and brow bone; a shader/blender brush to blend eye shadows; an angled eyeliner brush; and a lip brush to apply lipstick, gloss and blend lip liner. The Hello Kitty set holder was also designed to be eye candy for your vanity: With a matte black finish, it's intended to evoke the glamor of old Hollywood.

And shoppers have been loading up on Sephora's Favorites Deluxe Fragrance Sampler for Him. For $50, the boxed set includes 14 of the retailer's best-selling fragrances and skincare products from brands such as Bulgari, Giorgio Armani and Prada.

Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smart phone, for $299, is a strong seller.

Shoppers also have been scooping up Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet for $249.99.

Music lovers who want to experience their jams like a famous hip-hop star are making Beats By Dr. Dre headphones fast sellers. Best Buy says the headphones from Monster are precision engineered with features such as an advanced speaker design and active noise cancellation to deliver the complete sound of digital music, be it hip-hop, rock or R&B. They sell for for $299.99.


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