Retail sales surged this Black Friday, although the impact of the day is diluted: NPR

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Jennifer Beecher, left, and her sister-in-law Ashley Beecher, right, enjoy shopping on Black Friday at Best Buy, Friday, November 26, 2021, in Houston. This year is the first time the pair have arrived before dawn for shopping. T

Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Chronicle / AP


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Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Chronicle / AP


Jennifer Beecher, left, and her sister-in-law Ashley Beecher, right, enjoy shopping on Black Friday at Best Buy, Friday, November 26, 2021, in Houston. This year is the first time the pair have arrived before dawn for shopping. T

Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Chronicle / AP

On Black Friday this year, things look almost normal.

Malls and stores report decent-sized crowds, if not floods of people arguing over the latest toys and electronics – online shopping is far too common for that now, and the discounts are both more moderate and spread over the weeks leading up to Christmas, on both websites and in stores.

Items out of stock due to supply shortages, higher gas and food prices, and labor shortages that make it harder to respond to customers are also the cause of frustrations for buyers.

Christian MacDonald, the first in line of about 75 people waiting for a Target store to open in Costa Mesa, Calif., Walked away empty-handed.

“I came here because I thought since it was Black Friday they would have the new OLED Switch in stock, but they didn’t,” said MacDonald, who waited an hour and a half to get the Nintendo wanted. Game console. “So I’ll just go home, I guess.”

The nation’s largest mall, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, said nearly 100,000 people had turned up early Friday afternoon, more than double the number of last year but a little below expectations. 2019 figures.

“We had a fantastic start,” said Jill Renslow, senior vice president of Mall of America.

However, staffing issues that plagued many retailers and restaurants also affected Mall of America. He had to reduce the opening hours.

Still, Black Friday retail sales jumped 29.8% through mid-afternoon, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks all types of payments, including cash and credit cards. That was above his 20% growth forecast for the day. Steve Sadove, senior advisor to Mastercard, says the numbers speak to “consumer strength.”

Overall Holiday Sales Expected To Increase This Year. The National Retail Federation predicts an 8.5% to 10.5% increase in sales for all of November and December, after growing 8% during those months in 2020.


Black Friday shoppers, wearing face masks, carry bags at Citadel Outlets stores in Commerce, Calif. On Friday, November 26, 2021.

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Black Friday shoppers, wearing face masks, carry bags at Citadel Outlets stores in Commerce, Calif. On Friday, November 26, 2021.

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While Black Friday has a strong hold on Americans’ imaginations as a crazy shopping day, it has lost its stature over the past decade as stores opened on Thanksgiving Day and shopping spun off. moved to Amazon and other online retailers. Stores diluted the importance of the day even further by advertising Black Friday sales for more and more days.

The pandemic has led many retailers will close their stores on Thanksgiving Day and push discounts on their websites, starting in October. This continues this year, although there are also offers in stores.

At the Fashion Center mall in suburban Northern Virginia, storefront signs advertised 50% off boots at Aldo, 40% off full-price items at J.Crew, and 30% off Forever 21 At the Capital Mall in Olympia, Wash., Stores advertised sales of 35% to 50% off.

Big box retailers like Walmart, however, don’t blow up doorbuster offerings in their ads, said Julie Ramhold, analyst at DealNews.com. And clothing chains like Victoria’s Secret and Gap are having a harder time dealing with supply issues. Victoria’s Secret recently said 45% of its holiday merchandise is still stranded in transit.

Supply chain bottlenecks are a major concern this year, and stores and shoppers are trying to find workarounds. Some of America’s largest retailers are redirecting cargo to less congested ports, even chartering their own ships.

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said the company was ready. “We are in depth and we are ready,” he said, noting that inventory levels were up 20% from last year.

But many retail areas looked different from years gone by, when large stacks of merchandise were on display. At Macy’s in Manhattan, no more shoes stacked so high that shoppers couldn’t reach them.

At the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, New Jersey, queues formed outside Pandora and Bath & Body Works around noon, while some small stores were largely empty. In the afternoon, at the Fashion Center mall in suburban DC, Macy’s was packed with people, making it difficult to move around the store, as Forever 21 security guards had to help clear the traffic jams.


Shoppers wait for the doors to open at Walmart on Black Friday in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on November 25, 2016. Retailers ushered in the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season on Friday November 26, 2021.

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Shoppers wait for the doors to open at Walmart on Black Friday in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on November 25, 2016. Retailers ushered in the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season on Friday November 26, 2021.

Peter Pereira / The Standard-Times / SCMGs / AP

Tim Clayburn was shopping at the Fashion Center on Friday morning because he wanted to make sure he could get the gifts he wanted for his loved ones.

“Everyone is so worried that they won’t get things shipped on time,” he said. “I just prefer to pick things up in person so I don’t have to worry about shipping.”

Across the country, there were about three dozen people lining up at a Denver-area Best Buy when the doors opened at 5 a.m., customer Edmond Kunath said, who he found disappointing.

“It’s amazing how small the crowd is here this morning,” said Kunath, who was looking for deals on Apple AirPods headphones and a hard drive.

Retail workers are worried about their safety due to frustrated shoppers and staff shortages, said Stuart Applebaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union, who said stores should provide security and training on how to handle angry shoppers.

An employee at the Zara in Fashion Center, who declined to give his name, said the store appeared understaffed and had been stressed all morning. “It’s the craziest thing I’ve seen in a long time,” he said.

At Macy’s in Manhattan, the pandemic remained in sight – employees wore masks and so did many shoppers – but there was also a sense of celebrating the fun of shopping, of seeing things go back to their ways.

Carol Claridge from Bourne, England, has been coming to New York for Thanksgiving Week shopping for 15 years, but ignored it last year due to the pandemic. United States reopened to travelers from the UK earlier in November when it lifted travel bans in the event of a pandemic.

“We had to wait a long time to do it,” said Claridge, who was looking at beauty gift boxes on Macy’s first floor with a friend. “We pick up whatever we see that we like. We call it our annual shopping trip.”

According to Aurélien Duthoit, senior sector advisor at Allianz Research, buyers are expected to pay on average between 5% and 17% more for their purchases of toys, clothing, appliances, televisions and more on Black Friday this year. price increases on televisions. This is because all available discounts will be applied to products that are already costing more.

Aniva Pawlowski, who was shopping for shoes and coats on Friday at Macy’s in Manhattan, plans to spend $ 1,000 on vacation shopping, as in previous years, though she is worried about rising gasoline costs, food and others.

“Everything is expensive,” she said.

Online shopping remains huge and sales are expected to rise 7% for the week after the massive 46% gain a year ago, when many shoppers stayed home, according to Mastercard. For the entire holiday season, online sales are expected to increase 10% from a year ago, up from 33% last year, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

“What the pandemic has done for retail is it has forced them to be better digital retailers,” said Marshal Cohen of market research firm NPD Group.

This means the day after Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be.

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David Zalubowski of Lone Tree, Colorado; Parker Purifoy of Arlington, Virginia; Manuel Valdes in Olympia, Washington; Bryan Gallion of Wayne, New Jersey; and Eugene Garcia of Costa Mesa, Calif. contributed to this report.


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