Black Friday Attracts US Shoppers, But Many Stores Avoid Online Stores


CHICAGO, Nov.26 (Reuters) – Bargain hunters ventured in cold weather to shop for Christmas gifts on Black Friday only to find that many U.S. retailers were offering lower price cuts this year amid a sourcing backdrop restricted.

Fears of COVID and fewer doorbuster sales lightened crowds the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, which kicks off the holiday season.

The shopping season kicked off on the same day that the World Health Organization on Friday named the newly identified omicron variant of the coronavirus as a “worrying variant”, setting off a global alarm and a sell-off in the U.S. stock market. Read more

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Black Friday stores had the lowest level of clearance products for sale in five or more years, Cowen analysts said in a note. Many shoppers have chosen to pick up merchandise from the curb rather than venturing inside stores.

Walmart (WMT.N) and Target (TGT.N) were outperforming other retailers in part because of their online shopping and in-store pickup services, Cowen said. Target added more than 18,000 car parking spaces, more than double the number of spaces last year.

Shoppers pack stores for Black Friday sales at the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, United States on November 26, 2021. REUTERS / Rachel Wisniewski

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Several retailers – including Walmart, Target and Best Buy – are expected to post lower profit margins in the fourth quarter due to tight inventories and higher costs for raw materials, freight and labor. “Even though the holiday season is expected to be good from a sales standpoint – because retailers are giving fewer discounts – margins won’t necessarily be higher due to inflation,” said Sucharita Kodali, analyst at Forrester. Research.

U.S. consumers enter the holiday season with cash thanks to a heap of still sizable savings from several rounds of pandemic government reliefs and double-digit wage increases as businesses compete for workers . read more Yet retailers had been urging shoppers to shop for the holidays as early as September this year, as the deadlock in the supply chain prevented them from quickly restocking on year-end merchandise.

A Deloitte survey showed people spent 80-85% of their budget on holiday gifts even before Black Friday. For November and December, online sales are expected to hit a record $ 207 billion, up 10% from last year, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. The National Retail Federation forecasted that combined brick-and-mortar and vacation online sales would reach $ 843.4 billion to $ 859 billion, 8.5-10.5 percent higher than last year.

Elver Gomez, a 21-year-old Chicago student, said he couldn’t find the Apple and Microsoft laptops he wanted when shopping at a Best Buy store on Friday morning. “It looks like this year it’s either out of stock” or on sale at what he said was “not such a good price”. Best Buy added a message to its website warning of “limited qualities” and “no warranty checks.”

Electronics – in short supply due to a global shortage of chips – had the highest levels of out-of-stock, followed by personal care, home and garden, according to Adobe. For most of November, stockouts were up 261% from 2019.

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(Reporting by Richa Naidu and Arriana McLymore; Additional reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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