US re­tail­ers keep deals flow­ing on hol­i­day-sales jump

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -


US re­tail­ers are ex­tend­ing deals into Cy­ber Mon­day and be­yond to try to sus­tain a 13 per­cent gain in Thanks­giv­ing week­end sales.

Spend­ing in stores and on­line rose to $59.1 bil­lion in the four days start­ing Nov. 22, the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion said in a state­ment yes­ter­day. A year ago, sales ad­vanced 16 per­cent over the hol­i­day week­end.

Re­tail­ers have turned Black Fri­day into a week's worth of deals, with ear­lier open­ings and on­line of­fers.

Thanks­giv­ing Day, once re­served for fam­ily gath­er­ings, saw the num­ber of shop­pers rise to more than 35 mil­lion from 29 mil­lion last year, the NRF said.

Even to­day's so-called Cy­ber Mon­day is los­ing its dis­tinc­tion, with Best Buy Co. yes­ter­day cut­ting on­line prices of televisions and J.C. Pen­ney Co. (JCP) dis­count­ing cook­ware.

"What was Cy­ber Mon­day is now Cy­ber Week­end," Poonam Goyal, a Bloomberg In­dus­tries an­a­lyst, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view yes­ter­day. "It is no longer a one-day event. Year over year, Black Fri­day sales were strong and mar­gins should have also been strong."

About 28 per­cent of the week­end shop­pers were in stores on Thurs­day night, up from about 24 per­cent last year, the NRF said. Chicagob­ased re­searcher Shop­perTrak ob­served a 1.8 per­cent de­cline in sales on Black Fri­day it­self, af­ter chains in­clud­ing WalMart Stores Inc. (WMT), the world's largest re­tailer, of­fered early-bird spe­cials.

Cus­tomers spent $423 on av­er­age this week­end, up 6.3 per­cent from last year, the Washington-based NRF said. The 13 per­cent jump in to­tal spend­ing sug­gests that some sales were pulled ahead from De­cem­ber and that re­tail­ers will have to keep up the pro­mo­tions to avoid a lull.

"Re­tail­ers are go­ing to have to get cre­ative, such as price dis­counts or spe­cial events, to keep the cus­tomer en­gaged," Pa­tri­cia Ed­wards, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer for Belle­vue, Washington-based Trutina Fi­nan­cial, said yes­ter­day by tele­phone. Her firm owns stakes in Wal-Mart and Star­bucks Corp. among more than $300 mil­lion in as­sets.

On­line shop­ping on Black Fri­day rose 26 per­cent to ex­ceed $1 bil­lion for the first time, re­search firm ComS­core Inc. said yes­ter­day.

On­line sales ad­vanced 16 per­cent in the first 23 days of Novem­ber to $13.7 bil­lion, with sales on Thanks­giv­ing Day in­creas­ing 32 per­cent to $633 mil­lion.

"Re­tail­ers like Kohl's, Macy's and J.C. Pen­ney are start­ing their Cy­ber Mon­day deals Sun­day to tran­si­tion their shop­pers from the mall to their web­sites," Miro Copic, a mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sor at San Diego State Univer­sity, said yes­ter­day by tele­phone.

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