'It's All About Me' Tops the List of Shopping Personalities During Act II of the Holiday Season

More Women Than Men Prefer That Mothers-in-Law Give Gift Cards Instead of Presents, Men Cite Spouses

More than half (54 percent) of shoppers will use the week after the holiday to shop for the gifts they really wanted, expecting to receive an average of only 61 percent of their personal holiday wish lists according to a new survey* conducted by Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S). As the curtain closes on the pre-holiday season chock full of entertaining and shopping for others, more than one-fourth of consumers who plan to shop say their post-holiday shopping is "all about me." This tops the traditional post-holiday shopping missions of stocking up on holiday decor and returning/exchanging gifts. (See Chart 1 below.)

The week after Christmas has become an important "Act II" of the holiday season. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) one in five people will shop on the day after Christmas. In 2003, it was the third biggest shopping day of the year according to ICSC. This year, Dec. 26 falls on a weekend when most people are home from work and stores plan to open early (Sears opens at 7 a.m. where permitted).

The rise in popularity of gift cards is one reason post-holiday shopping has climbed. With great post-holiday deals in store, it is an ideal time for shoppers armed with gift cards to treat themselves. Gift cards have been the third most popular gift of the season at Sears surpassed only by home electronics and tools, and the week after Christmas historically has been the biggest week of the year for gift card redemptions at Sears. In 2003, Sears' customers most often used their gift cards for tools and men's and women's apparel. According to the new survey, 50 percent of shoppers plan to spend their holiday gift cards on apparel followed by home entertainment items (27 percent) and electronics (26 percent) -- all of which can be found under one roof at Sears.

During this self-pampering time of year, Sears is offering deals on some of the most sought-after gifts of the season including Levi's jeans on sale for the entire family, a Craftsman Laser Trac level for $29.99 and Sansui DVD/VCR player for $89.99.

Some Givers Should Stick to Gift Cards

The survey reveals that some people ought to be giving gift cards instead of presents. While women and men agree that bosses, parents/in-laws and friends should embrace the practice of giving gift cards instead of picking out gifts, women, more than men, say that mother-in-laws should give gift cards instead of presents. Men, on the other hand, are more likely than women to prefer a gift card from their spouse or significant other. (See Chart 2 below.)

Even with the growth and increased acceptance of gift cards, the two days before Christmas remain the biggest gift card buying days of the year at the retailer. Sears gift cards have no fees or expiration dates and come in a variety of designs, including a new card that doubles as a photo frame.

Sears stores will open on Dec. 24 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the ultimate shopping procrastinators, but will close Dec. 25. Sears stores will open the week of Dec. 26 from 7 a.m. until mall closing hours where permitted.

   Chart 1
   "It's All About Me" Tops the Chart of Post-Holiday Shopping Personalities

   After-Holiday Personality Type                  Percent of Shoppers (%)
   It's All About Me (Buying gifts for yourself,              27
    things you've had your eye on during holiday
    shopping for others)
   Holiday Maven (Buying holiday decor, gift wrap,            23
    cards, ornaments etc. for next year)
   Making it Right (Exchanging gifts for right                18
    size/different color/something you really need)
   Stocking Up (Buying household items, i.e. towels,          14
    socks, small appliances)
   Gift-giving Planner (Pre-shopping for 2005 gifts,          12
    i.e. birthdays and holidays)
   Preparing for the New Year (Buying items tied to
    New Year's resolutions, such as fitness equipment,
    home/garage storage and organization items, etc.)          6

   Chart 2
   Consumers Would Rather Receive A Gift Card than a Present From Certain

   Gift Giver            Percent of Women   Percent of Men    Percent of Men

                         Who'd Rather Get   Who'd Rather Get  and Women
                         a Gift Card (%)    a Gift Card (%)   Who'd Rather
                         From the Giver     From the Giver    Get a Gift
                                                              Card (%)
                                                              From the Giver
   Mother-in-law                 17               10                14
   Boss                          17               17                17
   Parent(s)                     16               18                17
   Friend                        16               18                17
   Children                      11               14                12
   Co-worker                     11                8                10
   Spouse/Significant Other       8               11                 9
   Neighbor                       4                4                 4

  About Sears

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. With revenues in 2003 of $41.1 billion, the company offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,300 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the U.S. and Canada, which includes approximately 870 full-line and 1,100 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through sears.com, landsend.com, and specialty catalogs. Sears is the only retailer where consumers can find each of the Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End brands together -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the largest provider of product repair services with more than 14 million service calls made annually.

*The Sears study was conducted by Directions Research on Dec. 22, 2004. The online survey was completed nationwide among 1,030 consumers 18+ years of age. Margin of error can be as high as plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

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Sears, Roebuck and Co.

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