Will Black Friday Ever Come Back?

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There’ll be fewer Tryptophan-induced food comas for many this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. Nearly one-third of retailers surveyed by JLL say they plan to open on Thanksgiving Day in order to get a jump on Black Friday sales. JLL’s 2015 Holiday Sentiment Report, which includes feedback from largely national or global retailers in JLL-managed shopping centers across the United States, also reveals more than half of those retailers expect an uptick in shopper traffic this year.

“Each year the holiday season seems to come earlier and the doorbuster deals get bigger. Black Friday creep into Thanksgiving mealtime is a very real thing,” said Greg Maloney, CEO of Americas Retail, JLL. “Holiday retail sales are anticipated to increase slightly over last year, and we’ll likely see sales trickling in even earlier in the days leading up to Black Friday. Retailers want to have first crack at customers’ wallets; the earlier they open, the more chance they have of capturing shoppers’ dollars.”

Black Fridya ImagesThe decision about when a store should kick off its Black Friday shopping can be controversial. Some call it art, others say a science. JLL’s survey uncovered that more than two-thirds of retailers believe that the holiday season is the most important time of the year for revenue. It’s no surprise Thanksgiving Day openings will continue, with nearly 80 percent of respondents expecting to earn up to 40 percent of their holiday sales during Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend.

More than half of the retailers, including the likes of Belk, Macy’s and Sears, indicate they plan to usher in shoppers by 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening. But some high-profile retailers are bucking the trend. REI’s #OptOutside campaign was widely heralded by consumers, and also viewed skeptically by retail competitors. “It will likely spur a few additional retailers to join in the bandwagon, but the majority will keep their doors open. Don’t expect a sea change in this tide,” added James Cook, Director of Retail Research, JLL.

Still, capturing the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers may be more difficult than retailers expect. Only 12 percent of shoppers say they will make holiday purchases on Thanksgiving Day, according to the 2015 ICSC Holiday Shopping Survey. ICSC found that 41 percent of shoppers will wait a day, and brave the crowds on Black Friday.

For more information on JLL’s 2015 Holiday Sentiment Survey visit: www.jllretail.com

JLL surveyed retail tenants in shopping centers in 17 states between September 18 and October 5, 2015. Slightly more than 40 percent (41 percent) of survey respondents were apparel retailers. Other major categories of respondents include Restaurant, Food and Beverage (13.1percent) Jewelry (8.0 percent) and Luxury (5.6 percent). Nearly 70 (69.0) percent of respondents were inline retail locations, while 76.2 percent occupied stores under 5,000 square feet. Another 45.4 percent were single locations or part of local and regional chains.

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