Target Puts Up Its Dukes

TargetCardTarget wasted no time positioning itself as the Boxing Day champ: Even before shoppers had time to wrap their holiday gifts, it announced a gloves-off 50% sale for the day after Christmas.

Opening stores at 7 a.m. and staying open until 11 p.m., it’s just the latest example of how far retailers are willing to go to wring every bit of spending they can out of 2011.

Historically, Target says, Dec. 26 is the peak day for gift card redemption, and it is extending savings beyond the typical holiday and seasonal items to cover women’s and kids’ apparel as well. And for those who didn’t want to wait, the Minneapolis-based retailer allowed customers to redeem gift cards for those 50% off items on Christmas Day, and those who did so earned an additional $10 off purchases of $50 or more.



Target’s move comes amid more signs that holiday spending will exceed the lukewarm projections. The latest: Consumer confidence rose again in December, the fourth consecutive monthly gain, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumers. Its index of consumer sentiment rose to 69.9 in December, from 64.1 in November; in December of last year, it was 74.5.

The survey also found that consumers are more optimistic about the economy than they have been, with 29% saying they expected economic good times ahead in December, up from 19% in November and the recent low of 14% in August.

The bad news is that they feel less hopeful about their own economic straits, with the majority reporting that their finances worsened during 2011, and just one in four households believing their financial situation would improve in the coming year. And just one in 10 families believes their standard of living will improve.

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