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Retailers Mull Adding Post-Christmas ‘Black Friday’

Oct 25, 2021 8:19 AM   By Leah Meirovich
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Some US retailers are considering scaling back their Black Friday markdowns and adding a new discount day in January or February, as supply shortages are disrupting the usual preholiday sales schedule.

Black Friday may not make its true debut until after Christmas and New Year’s because of a shipping bottleneck that has delayed retailers’ orders. Many are concerned they will not have enough stock for the shopping season, yet they will have an oversupply once it’s done.

“There are definitely delays and shortages, and retailers are frankly complaining that they haven’t received the stuff that they ordered several months ago,” said Matt Kleinschmit, CEO of mobile market research company Reach3 Insights. “In many cases, they’re thinking they’re not going to receive a whole lot of new product until after the holidays, so there’s definitely a mounting concern.”

Decreasing the discount

That fear may lead retailers to forego or curtail their normal preseason discounts, given the lack of competition and consumers’ motivation to buy holiday gifts.

“Normally speaking, people buy during promotions for the holidays,” noted Dave Marcotte, senior vice president of consumer data, insights and consulting group Kantar. “They’re waiting for a big promotion, for price drops, etc., and then they go off and buy their gifts. Well, that’s not going to happen this year. There’s no reason for retailers to drop prices if stock is low and people’s motivation for buying is simply that [the product] is there.”

There will be some sales on offer, but certainly the preholiday Black Friday as we know it will not be in evidence this year, according to Kleinschmit.

“I think the deep discounts are going to be there on select items that retailers already have in stock, but I think it’s not going to be as vast and pervasive as what we’ve seen in previous years,” he added.

Post-holiday surprise

While companies are concerned they won’t have enough stock to meet holiday demand, they also fear an influx of delayed stock afterward, when consumer interest has died down and gift-giving returns to its normal pattern. For that reason, many have strongly considered holding a Black Friday-style sale later than usual.

“I’ve heard people [in the industry] talking about the fact that there might well be an industry holiday declared for February,” explains Marcotte. “They’re worried that in January, they’re going to have all this product showing up that may not be suitable for having year-round.”

The move is just an extension of what has already been happening over the past few years, noted Kleinschmit.

“Since the pandemic, retailers have been trying to push the envelope in terms of new and innovative ways to get people into their stores,” he added. “The last couple of years we’ve seen this idea of Black Friday moving beyond one day to become a weekend, and then a weeklong event. So it certainly wouldn’t surprise me to see it become a season, and even extend into January and February, as a result of potential shipping delays and overstock of products that might be happening at that time.”

Image: A shopkeeper putting up a Black Friday sale sign. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: black friday, Dave Marcotte, Kantar, Leah Meirovich, Matt Kleinschmit, Reach3 Insights, US Holiday Sales, US retail
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