POSTED: Thursday, January 5, 2012 - 4:01pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 5, 2012 - 4:02pm
Selective shopping and heavy discounts played a heavy role in holiday shopping.
The majority of retailers are ringing in the new year thanks to holiday shoppers.
Sales for the season soared 3.3 percent overall, but analysts say stores had to go all out because consumers waited until the very end to spend.
"It was a very promotional Christmas," says Goldman Sachs retail analyst Adrianne Shapira. "We've been calling it a White Knuckle Christmas. It came late and it was on sale."
Still on a budget, shoppers looked to get the most for their dollar.
"I spent a little bit less this year. I was shopping with discounts. I wanted to get all of the discounts I could and all the sales," says DeSean Bailey.
There was a twist on stores that did well this year.
Big department stores like Macy's and Nordstrom saw an increase.
So did specialty stores like Victoria's Secret.
Meanwhile discount giants Target and Kohl's saw weaker sales.
Walmart slashed prices further and rolled out a layaway plan to compete.
"Walmart was very focused on winning back the holiday and it took its toll on many. Sears was one we heard a horrible season," Shapira says.
Sears announced it will close as many as 120 its Sears and K-Mart stores after holiday sales slid more than 27 percent.
Analysts say the challenge in the new year will be getting shoppers to spend again, without counting on all the deep discounts.