Black Friday: gridlock at the malls brightens prospects for retailers
Perfect weather and heavily promoted specials help give a big launch to a holiday season essential to retailers at a time when consumer confidence has been slipping.
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“Consumer sentiment has slipped especially in terms of where people think we are heading in the future and their own finances,” said Chris Christopher, Jr., senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., in an interview with the Monitor on Wednesday.
Martin says the next few weeks will determine whether Black Friday was an outlier or an indication consumers are not worried.
“There is a long time between now and Christmas,” says Martin. “We will have to see if they just sit on the sidelines waiting for retailers to blink and bring the promotions back.”
However, not all the activity was related to promotions. Ms. Ambrosino says she does not do specials nor does she open up at midnight. Instead, she opened her doors at 9 a.m.
“We like to think we offer a good product for a good price all year long,” says the small business owner, who has four stores. “And, I like my staff to get their sleep.”
A key factor, she says, was the good weather.
“It used to be that when it snowed, people would come back,” she says. “Now, when the weather is bad, they just get on the computer to do their shopping.
“The staff told me they had a whole new wave of people come in at 4 a.m. when prices were due to change,” says Kerry Gerot, a local resident. “It was a little more quiet late in the morning and at lunchtime.”
Once shoppers got a parking space at some of the Simon Malls they were rewarded with carolers and jazz groups. Mall employees showered shoppers with coupons for free coffee and appetizers at mall restaurants.
The sustenance was probably needed – to brave the traffic leaving the malls.