WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Thanksgiving is approaching, which begs the question: when is the best time this season to start holiday shopping for the best deals?
If you're after a really specific toy or color or size, experts say maybe buy now.
Government reports show imports of TVs, footwear, and toys fell so far this year. Railroad operators are reporting they are picking up fewer loads at ports to haul to inland destinations.
Marshal Cohen, a Circana retail analyst says, "Yes, there are fewer products being delivered into the retailers but they're already running heavy on inventory. Why? Because they've been running slow on sales for the fall period."
That means there is excess inventory on many items. There is a lot of uncertainty as retailers analyze current shopping data.
Kirthi Kalyanam, director of the Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University says, "If the numbers are not something they like, they are going to execute some pretty dramatic price cuts in the latter half of this month.."
Sweety Law, a CSU East Bay marketing professor says, "Retail sales as a whole is moderating, it is plateauing."
Cohen says, "Thanksgiving is going to be the big kickstart and very late in December."
"Consumers are clearly telling us there going to be shopping even later than normal."
Uncertainty comes from how much inflation will put a dent in budgets.
Data shows consumers are still looking for experiences.
"What is expected to be big this year is dining out. Gift cards for restaurants. Things they can experience together," Cohen said.
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