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Macy's, Inc. (M - Analyst Report) unveiled a new program, “Buy 1 & We’ll Give 1,” under which this department store retailer will donate a coat on the purchase of every coat in the men’s, women’s or children’s section of its stores or online platform. The charitable program will run from Oct 29 to Nov 2, 2013, when Macy’s plans to donate up to 30,000 coats while also offering a 25% discount.

This holiday season Macy’s is leaving no stone unturned to draw traffic. The company for the first time plans to open its stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening.

The move is a strategic attempt by the department store retailer to take a more competitive stance against its brick-mortar and online rivals.

Other retailers that count upon a similar game plan include Target Corp. (TGT - Analyst Report), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - Analyst Report) and The Gap, Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report). Retailers need to be ‘hawk-eyed’ this holiday season to make the most of it. They will need to capitalize on every opportunity as and when they arise, and try to attract cautious, budget-constrained consumers to the stores as the season may be a tough one.

What further makes this holiday season challenging for retailers is the time frame, as 2013 presents only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas as against 31 days last year. Moreover, retailers, which witness more traffic during weekends, will have only 4 full weekends this time around versus 5 in 2012.

Earlier, Macy’s, holding a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), stated that it will deploy approximately 83,000 seasonal staff members for its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s outlets, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers, portraying a 3.8% increase from the last year, when the retailer appointed about 80,000 associates.

Retailers seem skeptical about the holiday shopping period as the economic improvement is short of expectations, which could have led to higher consumer spending. Consequently, retailers are busy bracing themselves for a tough shopping season.

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