By Tamera Adams

A recent article on warned consumers not to expect big bargains from retailers this holiday season. Despite sagging July sales and shaky housing and credit market conditions, retailers are raising their profit forecasts for the year, which Wachovia Capital Markets analyst John D. Morris reads as a show of confidence about their ability to sell inventory at full price in the coming months.

Does this mean our annual Black Friday shopping trip should be canceled? The warning is definitely worth heeding. There’s nothing like waiting in line at 4 a.m. in 40-degree weather to enter a large, crowded retail store that’s only offering a two percent discount on an eighth of its entire inventory.   

Markdowns on high-ticket items like jewelry and electronics are the reason holiday bargain hunters come out in droves for Black Friday. It’s certainly not for the sense of holiday cheer they feel as shopping carts roll over their toes or as their ducked-down heads hit the metal shelf above hard-to-reach items.

While a lack of discounts is disappointing news for consumers, independent retailers can use the information to gain a competitive edge. Consumers may not be willing to subject themselves to the congestion and chaos of large retailers who aren’t slashing prices. This holiday season is an opportunity to lure holiday shoppers to your store or Web site instead.

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