Expert: Even With Other Shopping Avenues, Expect a Blockbuster Black Friday

Retail management professor Deborah Fowler has been watching retail trends for decade.

Pitch

Retailers loved the recent cold front that swept across the United States, driving temperatures down and bringing the first snow for much of the country. Not only did it prompt consumers to add sweaters, winter coats and warm boots to their shopping lists, but it reminded Americans their favorite holiday is only 39 shopping days away.

Deborah Fowler, a retail management professor at Texas Tech University, has been watching retail trends for decades and has good news for retailers – starting Black Friday and even before, this could be a blockbuster year. Consumers are excited and feeling more confident than they have in recent years, cold weather correlates with increased consumer activity around Christmas and retailers are throwing their efforts into Black Friday sales, pre-Black Friday sales and any other promotion that will get shoppers through their doors or on their websites.

Fowler is the author of “Retail Category Management,” which focuses on the nature of retail processes and concepts. She has partnered with a variety of major companies, including teaching a class on retail trends as well as a course that allows graduate students to analyze and present a profit-making plan to a major retailer.

Expert

Deborah Fowler, associate professor of retail management, (806) 834-1779 or deborah.fowler@ttu.edu

Talking Points

  • Early indicators are that Christmas shopping has already started. Fowler says the increasing trends of online shopping and gift cards means shopping starts well before the season. Retailers are hiring more people this season as well, which contributes to consumer confidence.
  • Thanksgiving falls much later this year than during a typical year, which makes not only Black Friday but every weekend in December heavy shopping times. That also puts more bodies in stores before Thanksgiving, which is fueling the post-Thanksgiving shopping projections and could mean upward movement for the economy.
  • Even with the presales, retailers are pushing Black Friday sales, and consumers should be careful about getting swept up in the excitement and overspending. Credit card debt doesn't help the economy in general, nor will it help individuals and households have a merry holiday season.

Quotes

  • “Gift cards are another thing that's changed Christmas shopping, because the day after Christmas, everything you bought the day before Christmas is on sale.”
  • “All these factors – the late Thanksgiving, more consumer confidence, just the excitement for Christmas has changed predictions for Black Friday this year. I think it's going to be a good year.”
  • “People still really need to keep an eye on their budget. A lot of times we get really excited about something and overspend and think, ‘Oh my gosh, what did I do?' It's really easy with the music and crowds and chilly weather you just become so excited that you lose track of what you're actually spending.”

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