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Black Friday broke shopping records, but not at stores

Black Friday shoppers spent a record $7.4 billion onli...

Posted: Dec 2, 2019 1:19 PM

Black Friday shoppers spent a record $7.4 billion online this year. But heading to the stores in person on Black Friday, once an annual tradition for many Americans, continues to lose its appeal.

Shopping in brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday dropped 6.2% compared to 2018, according to data from ShopperTrak, as more customers make their purchases online. But that's not the only reason Black Friday shopping in stores is fading.

Holiday deals are now starting earlier than ever, more stores are opening on Thanksgiving and promotions are extending to Cyber Monday and into December. Foot traffic in stores increased 2.3% on Thanksgiving Day compared with last year, according to ShopperTrak.

Retailers such as Macy's and Nordstrom have expanded their online pickup options for customers who want to avoid crowded stores but don't want to wait for delivery. It's good for the stores, too, as pickup is more profitable than delivering to customers' homes.

"There is no longer one way to shop on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday," said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting for ShopperTrak.

With this year's Thanksgiving landing six days later than last year, retailers began stepping up their advertising and promotions before Halloween. They offered steep discounts on such items as appliances, sporting goods, televisions and toys, according to Adobe Analytics.

The decline of shopping in stores on Black Friday offers a window into the state of brick-and-mortar retail today.

Last year, US retailers announced they would close more than 5,800 stores. So far this year, US retailers have announced 9,271 store closures, according to Coresight Research. The list includes companies such as Payless, Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe.

Some companies, such as Walmart, Target, Costco and Best Buy are benefiting from these closures and are expected to have strong holiday seasons. Target's stock has rallied close to 90% this year and is one of the top performers on the S&P 500.

A healthy economy also will bolster these companies during the holidays. The National Retail Federation estimates retail sales in November and December will grow between 3.8% and 4.2% compared with a year ago.

"The consumer remains strong given low levels of unemployment and rising wages," Cowen analysts said in a research report Friday.

But not every retailer will get a lift. Department stores, mall-based stores and companies that have started to close some stores are most at risk for weak holiday stretches, according to Cowen.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1230264

Reported Deaths: 19173
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles4009197655
San Bernardino936711129
Riverside873831437
San Diego82043997
Orange785531577
Kern41827448
Fresno38568481
Sacramento37415576
Santa Clara35085476
Alameda29918512
San Joaquin25740502
Contra Costa24275261
Stanislaus22162426
Tulare20793308
Ventura19952175
Imperial16272356
Monterey15621122
San Francisco15571160
San Mateo14458170
Sonoma12319157
Merced11773179
Santa Barbara11520135
Kings1127087
Solano1064881
Marin7777129
Placer662270
Madera629085
San Luis Obispo614536
Shasta496347
Yolo489377
Santa Cruz449028
Butte400859
Sutter333216
Napa309017
El Dorado24474
Yuba203610
San Benito189316
Lassen17933
Tehama171025
Mendocino158023
Nevada13119
Tuolumne10358
Glenn9518
Lake92719
Humboldt8989
Colusa7236
Siskiyou6242
Amador59016
Mono5483
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3391
Inyo29016
Plumas2150
Trinity1590
Modoc1430
Mariposa1392
Alpine500
Sierra190
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Chico
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Oroville
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December began on a beautiful note for northern California with plentiful sunshine, seasonably cool lows and warmer than average highs. Much of wednesday will be similar to today, but clouds will stream into our sky late in the day.
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