Retail Detail. Expect a ‘Red’ Black Friday

November 26, 2008 • Shopping


This really comes as no surprise, since it seems everything has been on sale for weeks. According to WWD, low price is the retail
mantra this holiday season in what is described as the worst U.S. economic crisis since
the Great Depression.

“Retailers realize that low prices will
get consumers into stores this holiday season, and this could be the
most heavily promotional Black Friday in history,” said Tracy Mullin,
president and chief executive officer of the National Retail
Federation. “Shoppers who held off buying a DVD player or winter coat
over the last few months will find that prices may literally be too
good to pass up.”

The consensus among economic experts is
that this season will be miserable. Most Americans said they will spend
less, and an even larger majority said they plan to cut spending
overall in 2009, according to a survey of 2,175 adults with household
incomes of more than $35,000. Shoppers said they will hunt for high-quality bargains or trade down to less expensive brands, the study found.

Who knows what margins these stores will make? It’s a crap shot at this point.

Nordstrom, executive vice president and president of merchandising at
Nordstrom Inc., said sales of tissue-weight cashmere sweaters, reduced
to $89 from $118, have been brisk.

“If you’d look at that
item, you’d say business is fantastic,” he said. “We’re selling Ugg
boots better than we’ve ever sold them. It proves that if you have the
right item and a hot category, there’s a market for it. Jewelry and
main floor accessories are relatively strong, as is cosmetics.
Outerwear is really good. Everything is selling, but everything is
selling less.”

At Bloomingdale’s,
Michael Gould, chairman and ceo, said, “We still have a lot of Black_friday_3
going through our stores. Tourism is off a little.…Business is
difficult. No one will tell you that business is not difficult. The
promotionality of the high-end stores is not helpful.”

Tansky, chairman and ceo of Neiman Marcus Group, said the luxury
retailer was still tweaking its promotions for the weekend and declined
to discuss them. “The highly promotional environment has caused us to
be more promotional than our long-term strategy would normally call
for,” he said.

At least one retailer was taking a different stance.

“We don’t do anything different for Black Friday,” said Glen Senk, ceo
of Urban Outfitters Inc. “We kind of ignore it. It’s not a promotional
day for us. We do a fair amount of business, but we just don’t
participate [in the special offers]. It’s going to be a challenging
fourth quarter. I’m certainly seeing a lot more promotional activity
than I’ve traditionally seen. Personally, I find some of that a
turnoff. It seems desperate.”

Read "The Bargain Binge Is On: Black Friday Shading Red as Stores Slash Prices" here.

Photos: WWD

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One Response to Retail Detail. Expect a ‘Red’ Black Friday

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