The National Retail Federation's already making predictions about Black Friday, the mega shopping day that follows Thanksgiving. The outlook's not good for bargain hunters:
Import cargo volume at the nation's major retail container ports is expected to total 12.3 million containers for 2009, a drop of 18.8 percent since last year and the lowest level in seven years.
So what does that mean? Explains Laura Heller at WalletPop:
Those increasing markdowns we've all become so accustomed to may just not materialize this year.
Retailers are carrying less inventory this year so there won't be as much merchandise in stock. Even with a decline in consumer spending, people will shop for gifts. But with stores stocking less, some items may actually sell out.
Of course, that remains to be seen, but if whichever-Elmo sells out this year before you secure one for your precious babe, don't say I didn't warn you!