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Industry News

Black Friday 2015 Digest: Updates from around the globe

November 27, 2015

Here's what global news sources are reporting about Black Friday retail activity. This digest will be updated throughout the weekend:

• More people shopped this Thanksgiving weekend than expected — National Retail Federation More than 151 million people said they shopped either in stores and/or online over the weekend. This compares to the 136 million, who in a mid-November survey said they planned to shop over the weekend.

• Thanksgiving/Black Friday sales decline slightly at stores: ReportReuters Sales at U.S. physical stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday fell by 1.5 percent from last year, according to data analytics firm RetailNext. Average spending per shopper declined by 1.4 percent, the firm reported. But retailers agree that consumers displayed a willingness to spend in multiple channels that bodes well for a strong holiday shopping season.

• Combined sales for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday projected to top $12B for brick-and-mortar retailersShopper Trak On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, U.S. brick-and-mortar stores accumulated a projected $12.1 billion in combined sales, which is an estimated decrease versus 2014, according to consumer traffic tracking firm ShopperTrak. Specifically, Thanksgiving Day grossed an estimated $1.8 billion in sales, while Black Friday garnered an estimated $10.4 billion in sales. The two dates also saw thinner crowds as the preliminary numbers indicate a decrease in shopper visits on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday when compared to last year, the firm reports. "We saw greater retail sales generated prior to the Black Friday weekend, which is a result of retailers successfully elongating the holiday season," said Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak chief revenue officer. "Ultimately, while many question the ongoing relevance of Black Friday, it is still the biggest sales day of the year and signals the start of the holiday shopping season.”

• Black Friday grays as more sales happen earlierAssociated Press via North Jersey.com Black Friday will probably become slightly less important to retailer's overall holiday marketing strategies in coming years, observers said after seeing a noticeable decline in shopper traffic on Friday. "The frenzy and traffic levels were subdued," said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy. Some of the reasons include a lack of trendy merchandise to attract shoppers; earlier discounting by retailers; and increased use of mobile and e-commerce channels.

• Apple products, electronics drive Target trafficTechnobuffalo Target said its top-selling Black Friday products included the iPad, Apple Watch, and headphones made by Apple-owned Beats. Apple’s tablet was a top-seller both online and in-store, with one sold every second on average during Thanksgiving, the retailer reports.

• A relaxed Black Friday vibe pervades Seattle's retail centersThe Seattle Times From Walmart to Office Depot to Northgate Mall, shoppers were surprised to find more parking spaces available than in previous years. "There’s almost no stress," said one shopper.

• Shoppers stream into Target — The Washington Post Watch a seemingly endless stream of holiday shoppers flow into a Target in Minnetonka, Minn., this morning:

• Sporting goods chains draw throngsNew York Times Sporting goods retailers around the U.S. drew crowds of shoppers with Black Friday promotions. In Austin, Texas, 800 customers were lined up to enter a Cabela's at 5 a.m. Friday morning.

• British supermarkets get in on Black Friday actionColchester Gazette Most Black Friday consumers are seeking toys, consumer electronics and apparel, but Britain's supermarkets are finding success. Sainsbury's and Tesco stores, for example, opened as early as 5 a.m. Friday morning with slashed Black Friday prices. 80 people lined up outside a Tesco store in Highwoods.

Thanksgiving sales siphon traffic from Black Friday at Texas mall ABC KVIA "Shoppers are taking advantage of doorbusters, that's shifting to Thursday versus Friday," said Cindy Foght, marketing director for Cielo Vista Mall, in El Paso, Texas. "We will get the crowds. I think people take a break, go get breakfast, grab some doughnuts, coffee and then comeback for round two." The mall opened Thanksgiving night from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., then reopened at 6 a.m.

• Economically strained Sacramento Black Friday shoppers proceed with cautionThe Sacramento Bee Two hours after its 6 a.m. opening today, Sacramento, Calif.'s Arden Fair mall was "bustling but hardly jam-packed," due to Black Friday's diminishing importance as the holiday shopping season's launchpad.

• Black Friday scene 'calmer this year' in Vancouver, B.C.The Columbian “It’s really weird this year. It’s really quiet,” said Westfield Vancouver mall shopper Maecy Enger, 23, of Battle Ground. Enger said she thought the lack of crowds likely had to do with online deals and the mall being open on Thanksgiving Day.

• Black Friday is less frenzied this year at UK outlet centerBBC News Black Friday overcrowding led to the early closing of Oxford, England's Bicester Village outlet center last year, but this year is more subdued, observers say. The center had added additional car-parking and traffic management and extended opening hours to accommodate the shopping holiday.

• Early store openings thin crowds in OregonOregon Live "It's just not the same anymore," said Dennis Curtis, Clackamas Town Center's senior general manager. "We don't see the early-morning rush we used to see. The crowd's pushed later because they've shopped so late on Thursday night."

• Black Friday traffic "steady" at Macy'sReuters Observers describe crowds at New Jersey Macy's locations as "steady but not busy." Some stores are seeing a lot of traffic from shoppers picking up online orders at the store, said Scott Tuhy, vice-president at Moody's. 

• Delaware shoppers line up for dealsDelaware Online More than 3,000 shoppers lined up outside Cabela's waiting for the doors to open. Meanwhile extended Black Friday hours at Tanger Outlets in Rehobeth Beach failed to alleviate bargain-hunting crowds.

• Retail workers report a decline in lines, crowds on ThanksgivingNew York Times “Three years back, you’d be standing in line, but not anymore,” said Amit Patel, of Edison, N.J., who was one of a crowd of 50 people waiting for Macy's to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. “I don’t think that will happen anymore.”

• Omni-channel retailers driving traffic online and in-store this Black Friday — NBC News Retailers' online deals are helping to thin crowds at stores as more consumers opt to shop from home rather than brave the elements after Thankgiving dinner this year. Adobe Digital Index, reported that through 11 a.m. ET Thursday, online sales jumped by 24 percent compared to the same 12 hours on Thanksgiving in 2014. Consumer electronics such as big-screen TVs, gaming consoles and computers were the most popular purchases, the data firm reports.