HOLIDAY SHOPPING

Holiday shoppers crowd local stores

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Shoppers from Williamson County and beyond came out in droves last week, seeking Black Friday sales. Jana Griswold, area director of marketing for Lakeline Mall, said the ‘shopping holiday’ remains one of the busiest for shoppers and retailers.

“The mall has been very busy between our Thanksgiving and Black Friday hours,” Griswold said. “We’ve seen lots of bags and a lot of our stores started their holiday deals earlier in the week. Shoppers have been taking advantage of those deals all throughout the week while the kids have been out of school.”

An annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation revealed that more than 164 million people had plans to shop over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend. However, while Black Friday has become increasingly popular over the years, some analysts have stated that the shopping festival might not really be worth all the hype it is getting.

“People wait for this weekend all year to shop,” said Griswold. “I think people are always eager and looking forward to it. We’re getting very positive sales feedback from all of our store managers.”

Chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, Ian Shepherdson, likened shopping over the holiday season to a marathon, stating that is more of a steady run spread over a period of two months as opposed to being a sprint. This is in addition to Adobe Analytics projecting that the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday will account 20% of the over $124 billion spent by online shoppers during the holiday season from November 1 till the end of the year. Therefore, it is worth noting that while there might be some increase in sales figures on Friday, a majority of retailers will be offering deals until right up to the New Year.

With the buzz and hype surrounding Black Friday, it is even more perplexing that there seems to be no transparency on the lucrativeness of Black Friday sales particularly for retailers. “Companies only provided limited information which makes it hard to gauge how successful Black Friday has been. It isn’t until the new year when we see more detail on complete holiday sales numbers that we get a sense of how retailers have traded,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at Global Data.

Though Black Friday is known for its excitement and urgent atmosphere, Giswold said that taking local shopping into account is good for shoppers and retailers. 

“We think it’s really important to shop locally and we have quite a few owner-operated local stores as well as national retailers here.”

For shoppers who wanted to skip the crowds, Cyber Monday has become the largest online shopping day in American history. For Cyber Monday, Target took 15 percent off everything, while Walmart discounted its tech products from Apple to game consoles.

Research experts said the best Cyber Monday deals were on toys and apparel, with retailers taking off as much as 60 percent to 70 percent off.

According to data from Adobe, Cyber Monday sales peaked at a record number approaching $7 billion this year — about a million more than 2017.

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