Finding the right products in stock this holiday season was more important to shoppers than getting items on sale, according to a survey by KPMG LLP.

The survey found that 81 percent of consumers said they shopped at the store that had their desired item in stock, and 75 percent said a store’s return policy is what helped them decide where to buy.

“This year, it was important to have a good selection of items and to have adequate supplies,” John Rittenhouse, national service leader for operations risk management at the audit, tax and advisory firm, said in a statement. “Importantly, younger, more affluent shoppers — the most sought-after retail customers — said they are most likely to go where they are certain to have their needs met, not necessarily because an item is on sale.”

Despite deep discounting and promotional “doorbusters” offered by retailers this season, only 19 percent of those surveyed said price influenced their choice in retailers.

For shoppers, product was key; 39 percent of consumers switched to retailers that had the right merchandise at the right time.

KPMG’s National Shopping Behavior survey also found only half of those surveyed were influenced coupons.

This story first appeared in the January 8, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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