Slow and Steady Start to Black Friday Week

By: Keisha McDonnough, Senior Research Analyst, JLL Retail

Keish McDounnough

This week, after taking a tour around Town Center Boca Raton in Palm Beach County, it was clear that retailers – at least, most of them – were readying themselves for the holiday season.

Three top findings for the start of Thanksgiving week:

  1. Red will be big this holiday. Sales were definitely in effect. Most retailers had some level of promotion, regardless of price-point; some were offering as much as 40% and 50% off. This is right in line with expectations, given that many retailers experienced lackluster retail sales performance in the third quarter. Gap Inc., for example, saw a 4% decline in Gap sales, and a 12% drop in Banana Republic sales, year over year. Best Buy also saw third-quarter sales fall 2.3%.
    1. BHoliday Sales 1anana Republic had its usual 40% off promotion, but also had a 50% “Friendsgiving” sale for bringing in a friend to shop
    2. Claire’s has a “Buy 3, Get 3 Free” for the entire store
    3. Best Buy Mobile is offering a $250 guaranteed gift card for an installment purchase or lease and activation of select Samsung Galaxy electronics
  1. Helping shoppers choose. In a world where consumers are increasingly time-challenged, as well as overwhelmed with the cornucopia of choices both online and on store shelves, curation is becoming an increasingly important marketing tool for retailers. Gift curation was everywhere in stores this week. Forever 21 and Nordstrom had special display tables with hand-picked gift ideas; Sephora displayed special gift packages in beautiful glass cases; Macy’s had gift selections scattered throughout the store.
  1. Everyone wants a bite of Apple. Shoppers were definitely in a good mood – this is Boca, after all – but were moderate in number. Except for Apple. The Apple Store seemed to have as many shoppers as all the other stores around it, combined. And, no wonder. The retailer’s latest earnings release showed a 22.0 percent jump in revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter. Its recent product releases are still hot commodities; the iPad Pro, in particular, was something to behold – large and light, with a stunning display, it definitely would make a great gift (or self-gift) for the well-heeled this holiday.

So, what can we expect for the holiday season? JLL expects a strong turnout in response to retailers’ promotions this Thanksgiving weekend. Shoppers will come armed with information about the best deals, and ready to buy gifts for friends and family (as well as themselves). ICSC predicts that consumers will spend, on average, $259 in stores this holiday weekend. They will also be attached to their mobile devices, using them to compare prices, view product ratings, get discounts and even take pictures of products.

For additional insights on this year’s holiday shopping season, download new data from JLL’s 2015 Holiday Sentiment Report, which includes feedback from largely national or global retailers in JLL-managed shopping centers across the United States.