Good article from the NYT at how some items aren't even making it to store shelves but being dumped to liquidators. Holiday Sales Bust:
The holiday shopping season begins Friday with a blitz of early morning specials. For some merchants, though, it's practically over already.
Piles of jewelry, clothing and electric drills are bypassing store shelves and heading straight to liquidators by the caseload as stores try to save as much cash as they can.
Major department stores and mall-based chains have cut prices up to 70 percent to move out mounds of excess inventory stuck in the pipeline since the financial crisis hit in September and people snapped their wallets shut.