Stores kick off Black Friday but pandemic woes linger | News – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2021-11-26 09:58:00 –

New York (AP) —Retailers are expected to get closer to normal with more people than last year as they enter the informal start of Friday’s holiday shopping season. However, the effects of pandemics continue to weigh on businesses and shoppers.

Backed by solid hiring, healthy salary increases, and significant savings, customers are returning to their stores to get all kinds of merchandise. However, the surge has also brought about totally limited choices, as suppliers and retailers have been hampered.

The shortage of shipping containers and truckers delayed delivery while inflation continued to creep in. The combination of not being able to find the right product at the right price and the labor shortage that makes it more difficult for businesses to serve their customers can make a festive mood.

At the Macy’s Herald Square store in Manhattan, shelves were stocked and shoppers were steadily flowing in at 6:30 am, 30 minutes after the door opened.

Aniva Pawlowski arrived at Macy’s shortly before opening at 6am and planned to buy shoes and a coat. Shopping on Thanksgiving was a family tradition, but she stayed home last year to shop online. New Yorkers are worried about rising gas and food costs, but are now shopping directly because of fears of shortages, and will spend about $ 1,000 on holiday shopping.

“Everything is expensive,” she said.

According to Aurelien Duthoyit, Senior Sector Advisor at Allianz Research, shoppers are expected to pay an average of 5% to 17% more to buy Black Friday toys, clothing, appliances, TVs and more this year. TV price increase. This is because the discounts available apply to items that are already expensive.

Neil Saunders, Managing Director of Global Data Retail, said: “It will be a little frustrating for retailers, consumers and workers. You will see a long line. Go to a messy store. There can be delays in collecting online orders.”

Major retailers are preparing for the holiday season and are looking for workarounds for supply chain stagnation. Some of the largest retailers in the United States even charter their vessels and reroute goods to less crowded ports.

“We are deep and ready,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told The Associated Press, saying inventory levels were up 20% compared to last year. “We are in good shape.”

Black Friday holds the American imagination as an enthusiastic shopping day, but has lost its place in the last decade as it opens Thanksgiving and shifts shopping to Amazon and other online retailers. I did. The store further diminished the importance of that day by promoting Black Friday sales on more and more days.

Due to this pandemic, many retailers closed their stores on Thanksgiving Day and pushed discounts on their website as early as October. There are also great deals in stores, but that continues this year.

Still, some experts believe that Black Friday will be one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The Macy’s crowd had more of the first few hours of opening at 6am than last year, but online sales were strong, CEO Jennet said.

Carol Claridge of Bourne, England, has been in New York for 15 years for Thanksgiving Week shopping, but skipped last year due to a pandemic. The United States reopened to travelers from the United Kingdom in early November when the pandemic travel ban was lifted.

“I had to wait a long time to do this,” said Claridge, who sees the beauty gift set on the ground floor of Macy’s as a friend. Go shopping. “

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures overall retail sales for all payment types, this past Monday-Sunday US retail sales were 10% from last year, except for cars and gas, during the 2019 holiday season. Is expected to increase by 12%. Black Friday sales are expected to surge 20% from a year ago as store traffic returns.

According to Mastercard, online shopping is still huge, with online sales expected to increase by 7% in a week after a significant 46% increase a year before many shoppers were at home. increase. Throughout the holiday season, online sales should increase by 10% from a year ago, compared to 33% last year, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

During November and December, the National Retail Federation, the largest retail group in the United States, predicts that sales will increase between 8.5% and 10.5%. Sales increased by about 8% during the 2020 holiday season when shoppers locked down early in the pandemic spent money on pajamas and household items.

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