Black Friday Crowds Are Back—Even as Covid Fears Loom

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Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennett stands in the middle of a department store in New York’s Herald Square on Black Friday morning to talk about how the crowds are back at the brick-and-mortar store.

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“We’re not going to let customers down,” he told CNBC, noting that the retailer’s inventory is up about 20% over last year because it allows for quicker ordering of goods and supplies using different ports- Prevents snapping of chain.

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Fears of a heavily muted version of Covid-19 plunged the S&P 500 index 2.3% lower on Friday, with retail stocks down 2.4%. Consumers did not pay much attention as they continued their return to physical stores, a trend that baron’s Recently highlighted in the cover story.

According to early data from Mastercard Spending Pulse, Black Friday in-store sales were up about 43% compared to the same period a year ago. Online sales increased by 10.6%.

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Earlier last week, electronics retailer Best Buy (ticker: BBY) said its online sales declined in its most recent quarter, while Dix Sporting Goods (DKS) reported flat online sales in the same period. both reported high overall sales,

lack of it door-buster discount There may be one thing that bothers shoppers. “This may be the first holiday season where consumers won’t win the ‘discount chicken’ game,” says Rob Garff, vice president of retail at Salesforce.,
Describing the tendency of shoppers to wait until the last possible moment to get the best deal.

Overall holiday sales are expected to grow at a record pace. The National Retail Federation’s total spending will rise 10.5% from a year ago to $859 billion.

As Black Friday ushered in the holiday shopping season, retailers turned to a mixed bag for the recent earnings season. Macy’s beat Wall Street’s expectations and raised its guidance on fiscal year sales to between $24.12 billion and $24.28 billion, from $23.55 billion to $23.95 billion. The stock (M) was down 12% for the week but is up 171% this year.

Other retailers were not as successful in navigating supply-chain disruptions. Gap (GPS) said it faced “sharp supply-chain headwinds”, while Nordstrom (JWN) said its Nordstrom Rack off-price chain was short of goods. Gap stock dropped 28% for the week; Nordstrom fell 31.5%, the worst week for the stock since 2008.

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Walmart (WMT), which lost 1.8% for the week, and Target (TGT), down 1.6%, have plenty of inventory to stock shelves, but face investors’ questions about whether inflation And labor costs will hurt the bottom line.

Overall online sales remain strong. According to estimates from Salesforce, US consumers spent $6.9 billion online on Thanksgiving Day, up 1% year over year. The cloud-based software company forecast US online sales for Black Friday at $12.9 billion, down from the same level last year.

The retail federation estimated that a total of 58.1 million people would shop on Saturday, and 62.8 million people would shop on what is known as Cyber ​​Monday.

Even after Friday’s decline, the SPDR S&P Retail Exchange-Traded Fund (XRT), is up 51.1% this year and on pace for its best year since 2009, when it was up 74.8%.

Despite some bumps, strong overall sales point to a pleasant holiday for most retailers.

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