Retail had a surge during the Thanksgiving season, and then a lull, with a small push very close to Christmas: http://www.wwd.com/retail-news/retail-features/holiday-sales-disappoint-6554180?full=true Personal observations and behavior: I picked up a few things that I'd been eyeing during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period, at a 30% discount. A few things IU had been eyeing did not go on sale, and I bought them anyway. Both the (higher pricetag) gifts that I received and the gifts that I gave were purchased at full retail. I picked up a few things at the 60%+ discount on a whim (and they were things I'd been eyeing previously anyway. Because of the timing of Christmas this year, I made a lot of purchases quite late, and free 2-day shipping really influenced my decision to buy or to hold. I am a sport shopper, but I hardly ever buy anything just because it is on sale. If there is something, the pricepoint with which I am not comfortable, I will not buy it, but will pick it up if I can get it at discount that brings that item below within my comfort zone. Usually, that is a discount of 30-40%. There are very few stores to whom I have any particular loyalty, and those are all small retailers. If a European store has something at a better price than Barney's, I'm ordering from overseas. That said, I often am often attracted to products (Epaulet's women's Carmina, Fourshorsemen's special makeups with Viberg boots, a specific jacket or sweater) with extremely limited distribution or are exclusive to a retailer. ______________________________________________________________________ It's time for retailers to get smarter, more agile. I see a lot of smaller businesses (in soft goods and in luxury goods) flourishing while large firms just can't move fast enough to adapt to e-commerce and social media initiatives. I think that all these large firms need to have research arms with significant budgets that have free reign to try things out, and that they need to reach out to their best people on the ground, who talk to actual customers and have relationships with them.