Black Friday is the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season and retailers were concerned with it’s being a success, considering the late date of Thanksgiving this year. There are 6 fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than usual, which could make a big dent in retail sales. Thus, a good turnout on Black Friday could forecast a good shopping season.
Major stores opened their doors on Thanksgiving
So far, it seems retailers can breathe a sigh of relief. Many of them opened their doors a day early, with Walmart opening at 6 PM on Thanksgiving Day and many others opening at 8 PM. Macy’s broke a 155 year tradition by opening on Thanksgiving in order to tempt in those extra sales, and Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said, “Everything is just all good.” This year there were 15,000 people waiting outside the Herald Square store at 8 PM, on Thursday, a jump from the 11,000 who were waiting at midnight the year before. Other stores that opened on Thanksgiving included Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, Gap, Target, Old Navy, and Toys R Us.
Less frenzy felt during shopping
Many people noted a feeling of greater calmness and less chaos that has been the hallmark of Black Friday shopping in recent years. Alison Goodwin, of Pennsylvania, said she went shopping at the Willow Grove Park mall in Horsham on Friday and of the expected chaos and crowd size said, “It’s a lot less than I thought. . . . It’s like any weekend in December.”
Sandra Stephens of Baton Rouge said she didn’t feel nearly as harried as usual as she shopped leisurely through clothing retailer Anthropologie. “This is the first time in a few years I’ve gone out for Black Friday,” she said. “It’s a good feeling to get a head start on Christmas shopping, especially when it’s not too crazy, like it is here.”
Sales predicted to grow
This year, the National Retail Federation is predicting November and December sales “to be up 3.9% to $602 billion. . . . That’s higher than last year’s 3.5% growth, but below the 6% pace seen before the recession,” indicating that American spending is still in recovery mode.
Five years ago, the shopping hysteria was so intense that a Walmart employee in New York was trampled to death and two men shot each other at a Toys R Us in Palm Desert, California. This year was less lethal, though there were still scenes of violence, including a fight in a Rialto, California Walmart parking lot sparked by accusations of line-cutting and a fight in West Virginia where a man was slashed with a knife during an altercation over a parking spot.
Online shopping avoids all crowds
Another reason for the lower frenzy level is that many people have begun doing their Black Friday shopping online. One such store that offers crowd-avoidance online shopping is Jumpin Jammerz, an adult footed pajama retailer that provides comfy, stylish pajamas for the young-at-heart adults on your shopping list. IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark said that “online sales Thanksgiving Day were up 20 percent over last year.”