Black Friday: Tis’ The Season For Desperation

  • Posted by
  • on November 9th, 2011

Stores Ramp Up Competition for Black Friday: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

If all the Black Friday midnight openings and Thanksgiving Day store openings are any indication, retailers get it: It’s time to bring out the big guns.

$GPS is opening 1000 Gap stores, 800 Old Navy’s, and 54 Banana Republic stores. (um, if you look at stock performance you’ll see why), and Macy’s $M is opening on midnight on the eve of Black Friday, as is $TGT, Target, $WMT , and a slew of others.

But will shoppers bite? With technology changing the way Americans shop, does Black Friday even matter? Just like Back-to -School shopping, Black Friday is becoming less and less important as a shopping day, and more a symbolic kick-off to the Holiday Season. We are a Buy-now, wear-now society. That’s just the new normal. And unless Christian Louboutin has a door buster, there’s no way in hell I’m lurking around the Mall at midnight Thanksgiving night.

Moreover, as this consumer continues the ‘Great Deleveraging’, and pays down debt, cuts up credit cards, and pays down mortgages, this new SAVER mentality, while it may keep the consumer more fiscally fit, it doesn’t do much to help the economy. Hence the resurgence of the dreaded “LAY-AWAY.” It’s baaaaaack! Yes, what was once the dirty little secret of retail is back in full-force as retailers realize they must provide flexible ways for consumers on a budget to pay for their Christmas gifts. K-mart  ($SHLD)has the “Gap” of holiday commercials dedicated to Lay-Away. Now that’s a tacit admission to the state of the consumer right there.

 

Some interesting data points to consider below:

An overwhelming majority of Americans don’t plan on shopping during Black Friday.

This surprising finding comes from a survey of 2,429 drafted by e-tailer Ebates and conducted just last week by Harris Interactive.

The survey discovered:

• Most Americans (87%) don’t buy the majority of their gifts during the Thanksgiving Weekend (Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and the following Saturday and Sunday)

• The majority shop instead during December (51%)

• One in ten Americans (10%) said they shopped during the week before Christmas and only one out of one hundred (1%) admitted to buying holiday gifts after Christmas!

In fact, shoppers are twice as likely to shop online as opposed to fighting the crowds at stores and malls on Black Friday:

• Only 34% of Americans said they were likely to battle the crowds in the malls or in stores during Black Friday.
• 71% said they are likely to go online to shop during the same time.
And this season will see more online shopping than ever before:

• 83% of Americans say they will shop online for holiday gifts this season
• 44% saying they would spend half or more of their holiday gift budget shopping online.

*Saving Consumers doing more damage than good to the US Economy.
*The Great Deleveraging (paying off credit cards, accelerating mortgage payments) doing more to threaten the economic recovery than help it. This does NOT bode well for the Holiday shopping season.
* Expect retailers to pull out all the stops EARLY via promotions and price matching to lock in sales as early as possible. Hence $GPS is opening on Thanksgiving DAY, as well as the usual suspects opening doors at midnight on Thanksgiving night: Best Buy, Macy’s,ToysRUs, etc.

*Since the financial crisis erupted, millions of Americans have ditched their credit cards, accelerated mortgage payments and cut off credit lines that during the good times were used like a bottomless piggybank.

* two-thirds of Americans polled online in July by U.K. research firm Absolute Strategy Research said they planned to either reduce their debt within a year or stop borrowing altogether.

*As a result, total household debt—through payment or default—fell by $1.1 trillion, or 8.6%, from mid-2008 through the first half of 2011, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
* Auto loan and credit-card balances in August had their biggest drop since April 2010, the Federal Reserve said.

* Since the recession ended in mid-2009, the U.S. economy has expanded at a 2.5% annual rate, far slower than the average growth of 4.3% during the first two years of the previous four recoveries.


The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.

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