Shoppers return to stores for Black Friday; Holiday retailers – WWD

Although a far cry from the frenzy that preceded COVID-19 years, Black Friday The shopping crowds are still large enough to maintain expectations of a high single-digit holiday sales boost.

At Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan, there was a line outside the store before the store opened at 6 a.m. Friday, “The first two hours were great. It started off strong, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it ends strong,” Macy’s Inc. president and chief executive officer Jeff Gennette said in a 9 a.m. interview Friday. .

“From noon to one and one to two, are our two most productive hours. After two, it subsides in the late afternoon, and then another rush at night,” says Gennette.

On Thursday, Macy’s continued to close its stores, as it did last year during COVID, driving traffic into the store on Friday. “Thursday was strong online, and things are off to a good start today,” Gennette said. However, Macy’s held its iconic Thanksgiving Day parade in real life, drawing enthusiastic crowds.

Although the store was less open on Fridays, rapid price cuts on some well-stocked key items also boosted business.

Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, commented: “Advertising speed has clearly spiked since Wednesday. “It’s an urban myth that nobody discounts anymore. They are present but not significant. Johnson has shown that stores are getting particularly strong traffic Black Friday, in part due to Thursday’s closure and people, specifically teenagers, anxious to get out and socialize as they shop.

Rob Garf, Salesforce’s vice president and general manager of retail, has a slightly different view. “Consumers may not win this year’s discount chicken game. With product still in ports and margins squeezed, consumers looking for deep discounts will be disappointed,” he said. “Average discounts for the first few days of Cyber ​​Week [the week leading up to Cyber Monday] down 8% from last year. We’re tracking record online sales during Cyber ​​Week. That said, with people returning to physical stores and making purchases earlier in the holiday season, demand is dwindling beyond the usual peak shopping days. “

Salesforce said that as of 12 p.m. Friday, US shoppers had spent $5.8 billion, or 7% more than last year, and $12.9 billion is expected to be spent on Black Friday, representing constant year-over-year growth. Salesforce also reports that $6.9 billion was spent online in the US on Thanksgiving Day, up 1% from last year.

Black Friday hits at retailers may have been hampered for a few reasons. On the West Coast, this week there have been “smashing” robberies, which hit Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton, among other stores.

Also, Friday’s reports of a new South African COVID variant that, if not actually halted shopping, dampened the mood of the day. The news sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 900 to 1,000 points at midday and stoked worries about the impact of upcoming holiday shopping and the economy, if the variation spreads. .

Furthermore, shoppers have been shopping for gifts earlier this season due to supply chain shortage concerns and in response to retailers launching holiday campaigns and Black Friday deals earlier than ever this year. , which reduces some shopping from Black Friday and potentially other important shopping days to come.

Purchasing looks more “surgery” for the 2021 holiday season. Consumers, although more inclined to go to stores this season, are keeping a closer eye on their shopping lists and looking for ways to fast. get what they want quickly when inventory runs out and to limit the risk of contracting COVID .

However, initial reports from retail experts tracking consumer activity on Black Friday are positive.

“Consumers are holiday shopping and spending this Black Friday,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor at Mastercard and former CEO and President of Saks Inc. Online stores and sales experience strong consumer demand. ”

Mastercard forecasts total retail sales (excluding autos) for Thanksgiving week to grow 11.7% year-over-year and 13.7% year-over-year in 2019. For the overall holiday season, Mastercard forecasts retail sales grew 8.8% year-over-year and 10.2% year-over-year. Mastercard SpendPulse measures overall retail sales across all forms of payment, including cash and checks.

Cowen Equity Research cited Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, American Eagle Outfitters and Brilliant Earth Group as strong performers on Black Friday, in a report released Friday.

Cowen forecasts holiday sales will surge between 11 and 13 percent this year, compared with last year’s 8.3 percent gain. Store traffic will increase 70 to 90 percent, which translates to a 20 to 30 percent drop from 2019 levels.

“Product themes include a strong denim cycle, outings including skirts and outerwear/sweaters, face and hair investments through beauty and fragrances, sweaters/tops cozy coats, toys/homes and gifts for both you and others. Cowen reported.

Regarding discounts, “During our inspection of malls and out-of-mall stores, we observed the lowest levels of customs clearance for 5 years or more, which we believe is driven by driven by consumer demand, supply constraints, new apparel and export cycles, and strong incentives for both gift giving and receiving,” pointed out Cowen.

According to Johnson, “It’s a good start to the holiday season. Super Saturday is still going to be the biggest day of the season, but I think Black Friday will end part two. ”

Macy’s Gennette cited several Black Friday bestsellers, including, in-house, Instant Pots air fryers, high thread count plates, exclusive Rachel Ray cookware sets, and Tools cookware of the Trade Macy’s private label. Gennette also picked out holiday outfits, which he said “showed me that family gatherings and holiday parties are really important this year”.

In terms of accessories, Gennette said Polo Ralph Lauren is very hot in all categories – men, women and children; Ugg is Macy’s flagship footwear brand while Steve Madden, Michael Kors and Inc. also very strong in footwear; The gift set of perfume and beauty is “a big win.” He also cites family pajamas and cashmere sweaters under the brands Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s; luxury fragrances at Macy’s, and luxury brands in perfumery and other areas at Bloomingdale’s; Kors and Guess outerwear; Toys R Us toys and jewelry at every price point, from fashion to high-end jewelry.

Asked if the recent increase in tourism has closed the gap between how urban stores are performing compared to suburban stores that are doing better, Gennette said: “No but what. we started seeing European visitors at Bloomingdale’s but definitely not in 2019 levels. Bloomingdale and SoHo’s 59th Streets are getting better, but we don’t see a huge difference in downtown office workers. It’s going to be a headwind in 2022.”

“Supply chain will not be an issue for Macy’s Inc.,” said Gennette. “We are in good shape to give gifts. We had 20% more inventory in Q4 than in 2020, but overall we are running with less inventory.”

Adobe reports that consumers spent $5.1 billion online over Thanksgiving and are expected to spend between $8.8 billion and $9.6 billion on Black Friday. “Thanksgiving was at the bottom of our prediction range for online spending, set between $5.1 billion and $5.4 billion,” Adobe said in a statement Friday morning. “However, Thanksgiving spending is still a notable increase from average daily spend with shoppers spending an average of $3.5 million per minute on Thanksgiving Day.”

For the full holiday shopping season – November 1 to December 31 – Adobe predicts that online sales will hit $207 billion, up 10% year-over-year and a record year. new continent.

“Today, consumers will enjoy deeper discounts and more items in stock as retailers roll out their best seasonal deals. Popular products including computers, clothing, home appliances and sporting goods were heavily discounted this morning, so today is a great day to shop during your holiday,” Taylor said. Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement Friday.

According to Adobe, by Thanksgiving, the rate of out-of-stock messages had dropped to its lowest level since June, as retailers purportedly made marketing efforts to direct consumers to products that were in stock.

“The rate of out-of-stock messages decreased by 8% compared to last Thursday. Despite these efforts, the volume of out-of-stock notifications is still 167% higher than it was before the start of the pandemic in January 2020,” Adobe reported.

According to Adobe’s report, electronics have the highest level of out-of-stock today, followed by home and garden products, personal care products, baby and toddler products, and gadgets. toilet.

Saturday is “Small Business Saturday”. According to Adobe, the best deals of the day will be electronics and home appliances. “Sunday will see massive discounts on sporting goods and clothing, while Cyber ​​Monday will see the biggest discounts on TVs,” Adobe said.

Globally, $30.7 billion was spent online on Thanksgiving, up 1% year-on-year, and $62.8 billion is expected to be spent online during Black Friday, figures This will remain unchanged from last year. Sales force says it analyzed global shopping data from more than one billion consumers on Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud, including 24 of the top 30 US online retailers. Shoppers return to stores for Black Friday; Holiday retailers – WWD


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