ATLANTA - Retailers have thin inventories after coming out of Christmas with slightly better-than-expected sales.
Some retailers kept inventory so low they've had to bring in new merchandise to restock shelves.
That's good news for their bottom lines. But it means slim pickings for shoppers hoping for after-Christmas clearance sales. Shoppers looking for big sales should act quickly because there are relatively few leftovers to clear out.
"Retailers are much more nimble this year," NPD analyst Marshal Cohen said. "Their 'Plan B' is to have new receipts at the ready."
Cohen said that he noticed that J. Crew and Coach were two that had restocked shelves with new items last week.
Because their ordering was in line with weak demand, retailers were able to sell more items at higher prices, which is critical to profits. Last year, profits were hammered by fire-sale discounts to get rid of the excess.
"The latest holiday shopping season wasn't a rip-roaring success, but at least it met or slightly exceeded expectations," said John Lonski, of Moody's Capital Markets Research Group.