After Christmas Sales - Before Christmas?

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When retailers start offering before Christmas sales before the actual holiday, you have to question - what is up?

Retailers have Black Friday- the most insane shopping day of the entire year - and all of those weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas to make their yearly quotas - could it be they are not making them - or are they just getting greedy. is already offering "after Christmas" deals of up to 70 percent.

Old Navy advertises its "after-holiday sale starts early" with discounts of up to 75 percent. And CVS Pharmacy, which opened early Christmas Eve, is in on the trend with heavy discounts.

Some revealing yet advanced estimates for November 2013's sales for retailers were up 4.7 percent compared to November 2012. Then perhaps it is greed.

This year, stores gave Black Friday shoppers an earlier window - opening in the evening of the Thanksgiving Day Holiday for those who wanted a head start.

This rush to discount inventory in early sales raises a lot of red flags.

Why are stores moving up their timelines earlier and earlier? Why are stores dropping their prices even before the end of the traditional holiday sales season? What message are we inadvertently getting about the economy?

With sales up from last year, could it be that stores are just exercising their power of the free market and becoming more and more competitive? You would certainly think so with all the competitive television ads going on during the holiday season.

Could it be the stores are afraid of hitting January with merchandise that won't be worth squat because they're seasonal, or could it mean that the pre-order sales expectations have not been met? The merchandise can be written off as a loss by the retailers, and some returned to the manufacturers, so this is really puzzling.

Perhaps these stores are concerned about unforeseen losses and are grabbing at every straw to prevent this from happening.

For the retailers and manufacturers, this aggressive, early sales strategy just could be an indicator of a weak and unsteady 2014 first quarter, with retailers and manufacturers wondering how to dump the unsold inventory.

After all, we have not yet come out of the worst recession since the "Great Depression" - is this just erring on the side of caution?

"Our store checks coupled with numerous other reports from over the weekend suggest the final Super Saturday weekend, while busy, did not generate the final crush of shoppers necessary to save this holiday season from being 'ho-hum,'" said Ken Perkins, the president of Retail Metrics.

Either way, it is bizarre - and hopefully whatever these retailers are up to, it will help them fulfill their quotas and stay afloat. It really is helping customers get some great deals on products from cars to electronics.

Image via Twitter

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