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This holiday, customers can expect more from retailers as they take their final lap before Christmas. Shoppers are offered deep discounts to enliven their shopping spirit. Apart from door-buster deals, early store opening, e-shopping through smartphones and tablets as well as free shipping are the added advantages.

In addition, for the first time this year, retailers such as Target Corporation (TGT - Analyst Report) and Best Buy Co. Inc (BBY - Analyst Report) announced they would offer their wares at prices comparable to online retailers like Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Analyst Report), Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (WMT - Analyst Report) Walmart.com and  Toysrus.com.

According to Target’s price-matching policy, the customer will not find any discrepancy in pricing if an item is purchased between November 1 and December 24 from the company’s stores. However, if the item costs less at Target.com or in a local competitor’s printed ad, this retailer will provide items matching the price.

Macy’s Inc. (M - Analyst Report) – one of the leading department store retailers in the U.S – went a step ahead and extended its annual shopping marathon in its stores throughout the nation. The company stated that its stores will remain open for 48 hours beginning 7 a.m. on Friday, December 21 through 7 a.m. on Sunday, December 23.

Macy’s started its shopping marathon in 2006 with Macy’s Queens Center remaining open for 24 hours. Following the success, the company added more stores to this marathon program. Last year, the company had 14 locations open for 24 hours at a stretch providing last minute deals to shoppers.

As Superstorm Sandy dented sales last month, retailers now are going that extra mile this holiday season with pricing and promotional activities. Generally most retailers were hit by the devastating storm in November.

Comps results for retailers such as Target, Nordstrom Inc. (JWN - Analyst Report) and Kohl’s Corporation (KSS - Analyst Report) witnessed a decline of 1%, 1.1% and 5.6%, respectively. Last week, Macy’s announced that its key sales metric (comparable-store sales) inched down 0.7% year over year for the month of November.

Given the cut-throat competition and pricing wars, those retailers who are able to meet the expectations of discerning consumers will succeed in expanding volumes and margins by ensuring steady foot falls.

At the end of this game, both retailers and shoppers will stand to reap the gains.

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