Missed Black Friday? This is a great weekend to shop

Bummed you missed out on all those Black Friday doorbusters? Don’t fret — this may actually be the ideal weekend to shop.

Many Americans, having run through their paychecks over the weekend, are now taking a breather from holiday spending — meaning fewer crowds at the registers.

Meanwhile, stores have restocked their shelves with many of the items that sold out, so there’s a better chance that what you want is back in stock.

Jim Young | Reuters Shoppers at a Target store in Chicago.

Jim Young | Reuters
Shoppers at a Target store in Chicago.

Further sweetening the deal is the fact that retailers are stretching their online Cyber Monday discounts into a full week of promotions, causing traditional players to compete in stores.

“These deals keep getting extended online, which actually puts some pressure on the brick-and-mortar stores to stay in the game,” ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said.

Martin said it’s typical to see shopper “exhaustion” after Black Friday weekend, after many have burned through their cash on doorbuster deals. But for those who still have wiggle room in their wallets, ShopperTrak predicts this will be the slowest weekend for sales and traffic until Christmas has passed, resulting in relatively stress-free shopping.

According to the firm’s forecast, Saturday is expected to be just the seventh busiest traffic day of the season, and the fifth busiest in terms of sales. Sunday doesn’t even rank in the top 10 for either metric.

The following two weekends, however, include some of the most popular days to shop, including the Saturday before Christmas — known as Super Saturday — which is expected to be the second-busiest day for sales and traffic. It trails only Black Friday, which once again regained its crown as the season’s biggest day for both metrics.

Although shoppers likely won’t be able to snag a 50-inch television for $150 anymore, there are still plenty of deals to be had, Martin said. These include steep promotions on slow-moving categories such as outerwear, and customer redemption of deals that are designed to spur additional purchases later in the season.

Kohl’s, for example, rewards its shoppers with “Kohl’s Cash” to be used on future visits, while Kate Spade, upon delivery of Black Friday orders, offered shoppers 25 percent off their next purchase.

“Retailers use a lot of that,” Martin said. “If you’re diligent you can always find a way to save a few bucks.”

ShopperTrak, which uses counting devices and retailers’ sales logs to compile its data, said that in-store sales fell 10.4 percent over Black Friday weekend, to $20.43 billion. That includes $10.21 billion on Black Friday, a decline of 11.9 percent, the firm said.

Online revenues, though they continue to account for a small fraction of total retail sales, continued to outperform the growth at physical stores. According to Adobe’s Digital Index, online sales grew 17 percent over the five-day period starting on Thanksgiving.

Still, Martin emphasized that he still expects 2.4 percent in-store sales growth this season, as seven of the top 10 sales days are yet to come.

“December’s really important,” he said.

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