For Christmas shoppers, that means that heavy discounts will be coming early and often.
"The deals will be so attractive that shoppers may not want to wait," said John Long, retail strategist at Kurt Salmon Associates. "This is going to be a great (time) to be a consumer."
For October, the International Council of Shopping Centers index measuring revenue at stores open at least a year showed a 1.6 percent increase in October, the weakest performance since April's 0.8 percent increase. October's figure represented a slowdown from September, when it rose 2.6 percent. It's also below the average pace of 3.2 percent since the start of retailers' fiscal year, which begins in February.