July 16, 2024

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Black Friday shoppers hold out for deeper discounts

2 min read

Black Friday sales show US consumers are watching their wallets and holding out for deeper discounts, which sets retailers up for a subdued holiday shopping season and potentially lackluster earnings results early next year.

Consumers aren’t spending at the same pace they did during the past couple of years, when the holidays were marked by post-pandemic splurges. While estimates on brick-and-mortar Black Friday sales won’t be available for some time, Salesforce Inc. expects online US sales to grow 1% in November and December versus a year earlier, which would be the slowest growth in at least five years. Sales were in line with that figure on Thanksgiving Day and appeared to pick up speed on Black Friday, the software company said.

Some shoppers said they were unimpressed by the discounts on Friday — and are likely to hold out for retailers to offer better sales. At the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, New Jersey, Alyssa Fanelli said she came up empty-handed while shopping at Macy’s for wedding shoes. The brand she likes was offering 25% off. “That’s not a Black Friday deal,” Fanelli said, “just a regular sale price.”

That’s in part because retailers have done a better job recently of whittling down the extra merchandise they had on hand. “Inventory is in line this year,” Jessica Ramírez, an analyst at Jane Hali & Associates, said in an interview. “There’s not as much pressure to move inventory as last year.”

Other data companies are forecasting a similarly sluggish holiday shopping season. Adobe Analytics expects online revenue growth in the US during the next two months to be 4.8% versus a year earlier. While that’s a faster pace than last year, it’s well below the average annual rate of 13% growth before the pandemic. Mastercard, meanwhile, sees US retail sales online and in-store up 3.7% this year versus last. That’s back to the pace of pre-pandemic growth.

Consumers are “now very price-conscious,” Vivek…

Jeannette Neumann, Olivia Rockeman, Bloomberg

2023-11-25 10:22:07

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