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26 Nov

Black Friday OK, Still Not What It Once Was

Black Friday OK

No blockbuster but not a washout.

Black Friday OK That was the early read on Black Friday traffic and sales from retail experts, giving some hope but no certainty that the holiday season will play out okay for the industry amid shopping slowdowns seen in October and early November, and inflationary pressures on consumers.

“Once we opened the doors at Herald Square at 6 a.m., there have been greater crowds than 2020 or 2021,” Macy’s Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Gennette told WWD on Black Friday. “There have been lines at the entire entrances – Broadway, thirty fourth Street and Seventh Avenue – but the largest crowd was on Broadway.”

“We noticed encouraging traffic as shoppers return to stores and traffic appeared regular,” Oliver Chen, managing director and senior equity research analyst at Cowen financial services, wrote in a report issued Friday morning. Based on store checks, Cowen estimated Black Friday retail traffic could increase 7 to 9 percent, which can be “barely above” the three percent month-to-date trends in November.

“Following Black Friday, we note retailers could likely profit from the additional Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Chen added.

“I’ve been doing my rounds around Atlanta. It seems the parking lots are full. It takes 20 or half-hour to search out a spot, ” said Murali Gokki, managing director within the retail practice of Alix Partners consulting firm, who visited Phipps Plaza and Perimeter Mall shopping centers.

“The department stores are vigorous, but there are only a few people walking around with shopping bags despite sales of 30 to 60 percent,” observed Gokki. “The sales are way more broad when it comes to offerings. There appears to be many storewide sales.”

He said that Sephora and Bath & Body Works were the busiest stores, while many others weren’t quite as busy.

“Many people are together in family groups or along with friends and seem like having a great time, but in addition they seem like very targeted when it comes to what they need to buy,” Gokki said. “

One in every of our recent surveys points to many people reporting they’re browsing and searching online with intent to go to the shop for a purchase order. The crowds are hovering at certain stores, where they probably already knew what they were going to buy.”

“Truthfully, it looked like a standard shopping day to me. I had trouble discerning anything notable,” said Brian Ehrig, partner in the buyer practice at Kearney, the strategy and management consulting firm, who at 10 a.m. in Nashville, Tennessee, went shopping on the One Hundred Oaks mall housing offpricers including Ross, Burlington and TJMaxx, amongst other value-oriented stores.

“To my surprise, the parking zone was half empty. Perhaps I got there after the true early crowd. But I also went to a Walmart in Nashville. It was the identical story…Black Friday will not be the traffic driver it once was,” said Ehrig, adding that the vacation season this 12 months really began six weeks ago, with many retailers launching their holiday deals.

This fall there was a chorus of outlets citing “normalized” shopping patterns, meaning Americans are increasingly returning in greater frequency to brick and mortar stores while spending less online than they did in the course of the pandemic. Yet there’s also a way that buyers are holding back on buying gifts, anticipating greater markdowns closer to Christmas, and realizing they’ve an additional Saturday to buy this 12 months, with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday.

“The vacation time-frame is a protracted haul,” said Gennette. “It’s just too early to call which way the client is shopping, however the team is prepared,” having inventories under control and equipped with latest pricing technology that may manage markdowns more effectively.

Nobody is expecting Black Friday or Cyber Week to be the blockbusters they were in past years, though Gennette did say he would expect some up tempo in purchasing for those periods, followed by a lull in shopping. “Then we come back stronger for the last ten days before the vacation.”

Gennette said that Black Friday promotions, which have been happening since last Sunday, proceed through Saturday. On Sunday, Macy’s triggers Cyber Monday specials after which a family and friends event starts Tuesday.

The weather was conducive for shopping on Friday in many of the country, with slightly rain on the East Coast within the morning, northern temperatures within the 50s, and heavier rain in Texas and other areas along the Gulf Coast. Weather conditions on Saturday are predicted as mostly clear, cooler, though rain Sunday may very well be heavy.

Macy’s best sellers for Black Friday included women’s cashmere sweaters reduced to $39.99; diamond studs at 60 percent off; Samsonite luggage at 60 to 65 percent off, and small kitchen appliances at 20 to 50 percent off. Popular toy and game brands were Pokemon, Barbie, Geoffrey the Giraffe and Lego in addition to Sharper Image drones.

Other best sellers were cosmetics gift sets, fragrances; boots, and quilted outerwear.

In accordance with the National Retail Federation, 166.3 million people within the U.S., almost eight million greater than last 12 months, are expected to buy from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

Holiday sales during November and December are forecast to grow between 6 and eight percent over 2021, in comparison with the 13.5 percent last 12 months, though a few of the results could also be skewed as deals and promotions proceed to be pulled forward.

A survey by the ICSC found that shoppers expect to spend a complete of $125 billion, a ten percent increase over 2021, in the times between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. “Inflation and rising rates of interest are still a priority, as 89 percent of consumers plan to buy Thanksgiving Weekend’s deals and promotions.

As consumers remain cognizant of economic aspects affecting their wallets, 81 percent say that rising rates of interest are prone to impact their shopping behaviors or payment methods throughout the holiday weekend.” The ICSC also found that 37 percent of U.S. consumers plan to in the reduction of on their overall spending for holiday.

“Our top Black Friday holiday stocks are Macy’s Walmart and Ulta,” Cowen indicated. “Each will profit from product diversification, trend right execution, gifting assortments at competitive prices, and value positioning. At Macy’s we like an expanding toy selection with the Toys R Us partnership and the number of key gifting categories including outerwear,

knits, and wonder. We expect Walmart to proceed to profit from the trade down on the high end, increasing penetration of Walmart+ members, competitive prices, and momentum in grocery and essentials. We imagine Ulta will profit from strong demand for beauty,

and inventive Black Friday deals should drive engagement with its (approximate) 38 million loyalty members…Bath & Body Works BBWI is one other top pick given the corporate’s compelling value proposition and leadership within the self-care category.”

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