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Shoppers Turn Out for Black Friday Amid Economic Uncertainty

McMillanDoolittle’s Emerson Delgado and Amanda Lai recently spoke with The Schwab Network and WTTW’s Chicago Tonight to discuss how the holiday shopping season is shaping up amid the current economy.

Emerson joined The Schwab Network’s Trading360 to review Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday predictions and consumer trends. Despite a decrease in inflation and a strong job market, retailers are offering deeper discounts than last year. Emerson is cautiously optimistic on sales:

  • Although overall numbers are good and Black Friday sales aligned with NRF’s 4% predicted growth, results should be seen with cautious optimism as mild in-store growth and strong online growth could continue into the fourth quarter.
  • Consumers are digging into savings and utilizing strategies like Buy Now, Pay Later. Because of this, we may see smaller, stocking stuffer type purchases go by the wayside.

Image Source: Twitter

Amanda joined a roundtable on Chicago PBS WTTW’s Chicago Tonight to dissect the state of the retail industry both nationally and in Chicago, as well as holiday sales thus far. While the current macroeconomic environment presents looming uncertainty for Americans, shoppers are still spending on gifts and creating memorable moments for their families. But what is the current state of the retail industry and how are retail sales shaping up this holiday season?

  • Overall macro indicators show that inflation is easing and unemployment remains low, but retailers face continued pressures from elevated costs and an expensive labor market, while consumers have felt the compounded impact of elevated prices over the past few years and do not have the same safety blanket of built-up pandemic savings and paused student loan payments. However, initial Cyber Week sales indicate that consumers are spending on gifts in full force to make the holiday season special for their loved ones amid the economic uncertainty.
  • Although Black Friday shopping has evolved over the years and shifted more online, brick and mortar stores aren’t going away. Aspects of the in-person shopping experience, such as experiential retail and interacting with products, can’t be duplicated online and give shoppers a reason to visit stores and open their wallets. Retailers must adapt to the ways consumers are shopping, including how and when consumers want to shop across channels.
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