Here's the bad news: imports of merchandise coming into the Ports of Los Angeles are reportedly down this year meaning that imports of merchandise for the holiday shopping season are smaller than in years past.

That's good news for the retailers because it shows they are controlling their costs and did not "over order" in the face of a sluggish economy.

But that's bad news for outlets and liquidators who depend on retailers ordering too much and being stuck with excess merchandise that will end up at their outlet stores.

So here's the bottom line: prices will continue to be cut to the bone at the big retail stores this holiday season but don't expect to see so much extra merchandise that there will be even lower prices on excess, leftover merchandise flowing to outlet stores later in the season.

And if there is a sudden pick up in consumer spending, I wouldn't rule out product shortages on merchandise that wasn't ordered in sufficient quantities for the holiday shopping season.