The Bottom Line: In-store sales save the day for Black Friday

By Tim Feran - The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS — Here’s a twist: Brick-and-mortar stores saved the day for retailers on Black Friday weekend.

That’s right. Even though there was a surge in online sales and a surge in Thanksgiving day sales in stores, Black Friday sales were only so-so — that is, until sales at brick-and-mortar stores on Saturday and Sunday came roaring in.

That’s a startling change from last year, when in-store sales on Saturday and Sunday were almost non-existent, according to Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry analyst at the NPD Group.

The feel of the weekend was different, too, he said in a blog report.

“It was filled with shoppers looking for ideas,” Cohen said. “It was filled with shoppers socializing and familiarizing themselves with the merchandise. Frankly, many were researching what to get next, after scoring online and in-store Black-Thursday deals.”

In the past few years, consumers did their research online and then purchased in-store, but it turns out that brick and mortar stores “are now critical to consumers’ research needs,” Cohen said.

“This translates to exactly what brick retailers needed to round out this Thanksgiving weekend — on Saturday and Sunday, consumers came and bought, impulsively and socially.”

So, in which brick-and-mortar stores did consumers shop? According to Worthington-based Prosper Insights & Analytics, 51 percent shopped at department stores, 34 percent at discount stores, 32 percent at electronics stores, 28 percent at clothing or accessories stores and 25 percent at grocery/supermarket stores.

With the advent of online shopping, stores may be playing more of a supporting role, Cohen said, “but they are still important to the holiday retail story, and they still score big.”

By Tim Feran

The Columbus Dispatch

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