Ho-ho-humph. For skeptics of holiday hype, here comes the last holiday sale of 2013.
For all the holding off and cutting back that consumers have been doing, retailers are hoping for a huge after-Christmas surge. But, once again, they may be disappointed. That, however, is not going to stop retailers - from Wal-Mart to Macy's to Target - from giving one last Santa-approved surge of after-Christmas deals.
For an early start, some online sales, including at Target.com and Kohls.com, start on Christmas Day. And for sales die-hards, many Wal-Mart and Kohl's stores will open on Thursday by 5 a.m.
"This is an especially big time for people who got gift cards to come and spend on what they didn't get for Christmas," says Sarah McKinney, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. Indeed, it's the single-most popular day to redeem Target gift cards, says spokesman Antoine LaFromboise.
Among Thursday's biggest sales incentives and retail deals:
• Buy one, get one free. Macy's rolls out buy one, get one free deals on many men's dress shirts and designer suits, says spokeswoman Elina Kazan.
• Cheap appliances. Sears is offering up to 40% off on appliances for shoppers who use their Sears card to purchase appliances over $499, says spokesman Brian Hanover.
• Free Gas. Kmart is offering its "Shop Your Way" members 50 cents per gallon gas discounts when they spend $25 or more on specific Procter & Gamble products.
• Half-price toys. Target, hit by a credit card and debit card breach that affected up to 40 million consumers, plans sales of up to 50% off select toys and 40% off thousands of apparel items. The sales have no relation to and were not affected by the data breach, says LaFromboise.
• Items 25% to 50% off. Wal-Mart stores will have "thousands" of items at 25% to 50% off, says McKinney. Among them: a Nintendo 3DS XL System for $199.96 - plus a $50 Wal-Mart gift card, with purchase.
• $10 coupons. J.C. Penney will offer coupons for $10 off purchases of $25 of more in a Christmas Day circular and also a coupon that can be printed from its website. The coupons are good through Dec. 28, says spokeswoman Daphne Availa.
• Hot toy deals. Buy one, get one 40% off on some red-hot toys, including Skylanders figures and accessories, at Toys R Us, through New Year's Day. The same offer applies to all video games. The post-Christmas deals are three days longer than last year, says spokeswoman Linda DeNotaris.
• Big incentives. At Kohl's, shoppers who spend under $100 will save an additional 15% off nearly everything in the store, while those who spend over $100 will save an additional 20%, says spokeswoman Jen Johnson.
• 33% off men's wear. Nordstrom's Half-Yearly Sale for men, which reduces prices as much as 33%, begins online Dec. 25 and in stores Dec. 26, says spokesman John Bailey.
HOLIDAY SALES BY THE NUMBERS
3.9%: Percentage the National Retail Federation still expects 2013 holiday sales to increase
Down 3.5%: Weekly in-store retail sales decline from Dec. 16 through 22 according to ShopperTrak