While actual sales on Black Friday dipped by about 2 percent, overall sales (including Thanksgiving night and the duration of the weekend) rose by 2 to 3 percent. In my opinion, that’s the real news because Black Friday has turned into more than just a one-day event. But I think retailers need to think critically about whether earlier store openings are helping or hurting their cause overall – especially when many stores see sales nearly halt in the very early morning hours when they stay open all night. In the latest edition of Retail Rap, I discuss how this trend affects retailers, and talk about how Cyber Monday affects this whole dynamic as well.
While that expansive new definition of Black Friday might feel like a good thing for retailers going forward, the way it is happening does give me pause. I can’t help but wonder if all of the “door buster” sales that were driving the Thanksgiving night activity might be less than positive over the long haul. Specifically, because door busters and deep discounts are typically loss-leaders, they count on cross-shopping and impulse buys during the same visit to drive profits. But with the late night starts, after a long Thanksgiving, browsing, lingering and real shopping seems significantly less likely to me — and probably to anyone else who has just feasted on turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. In my observations, Black Friday fanatics got in, got their targeted deals, and got out.
Check out the full article from my recurring column, Retail Rap, at Chain Store Age.