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Bleak Friday

This year’s big name retailers, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Gap and Fossil, have reported poor holiday sales during this year’s Black Friday season. Businesses usually report drastic sales growth in November through January. However, this year’s projections are showing little to no increase in sales during the holiday quarter. According to a survey done by retail research firm Conlumino, 45 percent of consumers say they plan to spend less in stores on Black Friday this year compared to last year.

This drastic decline in Black Friday shopping is due to the wide popularity of online shopping, which has discouraged consumers from shopping in stores. Instead, consumers are turning to online retailers like Amazon for their holiday shopping.

Junior Emma Vaughters runs a fashion blog called “E and A Blog” and is one of the many East students who has joined this trend. Vaughters usually does most of her shopping online and plans to continue that this holiday season.

“It’s a lot easier to shop online because there’s more variety and better deals on different products,” Vaughters said. “I may go to a couple stores on Black Friday, but I know most of my shopping will be done online.”

According to Russell Price, an economist at Ameriprise Financial, online shopping has become especially popular among millennials, who have grown uninterested in the Black Friday trend.

“Online is so much more convenient,” Vaughters said. “When you shop online, you don’t have to deal with any of the Black Friday crowds, you can do it all from your bedroom.”

Amazon will be offering its biggest deals yet this holiday season with its “Eight Days to Black Friday” sale, beginning Nov. 20. These eight days of deals will include “lightning sales,” which will be sales offered as frequently as every five minutes.

Because of Amazon’s flexibility as an online retailer, they are able to provide many more deals at a faster pace to consumers, compared to retailers who rely on in-store sales during the holiday season.

One of these retailers, Nordstrom, relies on in-store sales during the holiday season, where they traditionally do most of their sales.

“We always strive to beat previous years no matter what the projections are,” said Nordstrom at Oak Park store manager, Emily Adinolfi. “We do that by offering an additional 20 percent off items in store and our points reward systems, which drive consumers to the store instead of shopping online.”

Nordstrom is one of the few retailers who still does a majority of their holiday sales in stores. However, most big name retailers have turned to online sales to make up for their loss of in store sales.

Best Buy, known for their Black Friday deals, is offering many of this year’s deals online, along with their in-store deals, this year. These online deals include discounted televisions and laptops. The company is doing this in response to a disappointing 2.4 percent dip in sales during their third quarter. Best Buy will begin Black Friday earlier this year, at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, in an effort to boost sales.

“The tectonic shifts across the retail landscape relate purely to the impacts of the digital revolution,” Price said.

Retailers like Amazon are able to thrive off the “digital revolution” with their market value at an estimated $305 billion, that’s higher than Walmart, Target, Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Macy’s and JC Penny combined.

With the growth of online shopping, most retailers are going to have to find new ways to make up for the loss of sales this holiday season.

“As always with this industry, there are winners and losers, a
nd many of these winners don’t have physical stores,” Price said.Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 9.44.42 AM
Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 9.44.56 AM

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