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Black Friday provides a light of hope for struggling stores

New York (AP) — Black Friday offers a small light of hope after months of sales slump and corporate bankruptcy.

What you need to know

  • After months of sales slump and corporate bankruptcy, Black Friday offers a little light of hope
  • Many retailers closed their doors on Thanksgiving Day, but are strengthening safety protocols to reassure alert customers that they can return the next day.
  • Stores are also moving door buster deals online and increasing curbside pickup options
  • The CDC has labeled shopping in crowded stores during the holidays as a “risk” activity and states that direct shopping should be restricted.

Black Friday is usually the busiest shopping day of the year, with millions of shoppers wanting to start spending their holidays.

But these are not normal times. The economy is stagnant and the crowd is expected to decline dramatically as coronavirus cases surge and shoppers make more purchases online.

Many retailers closed their doors on Thanksgiving Day, but are strengthening their safety protocols to reassure alert customers that they can return the next day. For those who can’t rest assured, the store is moving doorbuster deals online, increasing curbside pickup options as the final grasp of sales by the end of the year, and heading for the dark winter days when the pandemic is still raging. I will.

Neil Sanders, Managing Director of Global Data Retail, said:

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled shopping in crowded stores on vacation as a “high risk” activity and states that direct shopping, including supermarkets, should be restricted.

Instead, health agencies recommend online shopping, visiting outdoor markets, or using curbside pickups where workers place orders in the parking lot.

The day after Thanksgiving lost its brilliance as an informal start to the holiday shopping season of the last few years, with more stores offering holiday discounts throughout the month. Still, according to ShopperTrak, Black Friday is the busiest day of the year and is expected to retain its title this year as well.

There is a reason for hope. Retailers have succeeded in persuading shoppers to spend early by offering a significant discount in mid-October. And shoppers are eager to spend on other holidays like Easter and Halloween.

The National Retail Federation, the largest retail group in the United States, is optimistic and predicts that shoppers are looking for a reason to celebrate. The trading group expects sales for the period November and December to increase between 3.6% and 5.2% compared to 2019, compared to a 4% increase in the previous year. Holiday season sales have increased by an average of 3.5% over the last five years.

“As a result of all they have experienced, I think there is a psychological factor that it is thanks to themselves and their families that they have a better vacation than usual,” said Jack Kleingents, Chief Economist at NRF. “. “If the virus continues to spread, there are economic risks, but as long as consumers remain confident and bright, they spend the holiday season.”

Online sales have the potential to make even greater profits for your vacation. Black Friday’s online sales are projected to be $ 10 billion, up 39% year-over-year, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures sales of 80 of the top 100 online retailers in the United States. .. And on Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber ​​Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, with sales of $ 12.7 billion, an increase of 35%.

Pandemics are already benefiting Amazon. Amazon continues to seal its advantage in online space as jerky shoppers click on devices instead of stepping into the store. Similarly, large box chains like Wal-Mart and Target, which were allowed to remain open during the spring blockade, worked much better than department stores and other non-critical retailers that had to be closed. The inequality helped speed up bankruptcy filings for more than 40 chains, including JC Penney and J. Crew, and hundreds of stores were closed.

Many clothing chains like Abercrombie and Fitch have warned that more difficult days will come, including the possibility of even more store closures. A & F said Tuesday that it expects holiday quarter sales to drop from 5% to 10%.

“There are a lot of unknowns as we move towards the traditionally busiest week of the year,” Scott Lipeskey, chief financial officer of Abacronby & Fitch, told analysts in a statement. “As the number of COVIDs increases, apparel demand and customers’ willingness to enter physical stores may change.

Kemperkins, president of retail research firm Retail Metrics LLC, said department stores and other clothing stores that haven’t recovered from the spring closure will struggle to make up for the loss in sales.

According to a tally of about 100 retailers at RetailMetrics, mall-based retailers in the third quarter saw a 20% decline in profits, but large retailers and other retailers operating outside traditional malls. Increased by 19%. In the fourth quarter, mall-based retailers’ profits are expected to decline 31% and off-mall store profits are expected to increase 1%.

Black Friday provides a light of hope for struggling stores

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