A “gangbusters” Black Friday and holiday shopping weekend are ahead for retailers and shoppers, the head of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts tells the Herald.
The Bay State group is expecting a 3% jump in holiday sales from last year, Jon Hurst said. And last year posted a strong 4% spike in sales, he said.
“Three percent is a good solid increase, and we think that will bode well for our economy and local stores,” Hurst said. “Consumers are very upbeat and confident.”
He noted that the calendar works against the retail industry a bit this year, with one fewer weekend between Black Friday and Christmas.
“So everybody’s trying to get the consumer out early with promotions,” Hurst said. “You want to get them out as many times as possible because the more visits you have, the more impulse buys you get.”
“This weekend will be gangbusters,” he later added.
The National Retail Federation predicts that more than 165 million people will shop from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.
That breaks down to 39.6 million consumers on Thanksgiving, 114.6 million on Black Friday, 66.6 million on Small Business Saturday, 33.3 million on Sunday and 68.7 million on Cyber Monday.
Stores have been promoting sales for several weeks, so Black Friday is no longer the holiday sales kickoff it used to be, said Katherine Cullen of the National Retail Federation.
“But it’s still a hallmark point for the holiday season,” she added, noting that 69% of holiday consumers will shop over Thanksgiving weekend.
The national group forecasts holiday sales will be around $730 billion, with the average consumer spending $1,047. That’s an increase of 4% from last year.
Retail analyst Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics Inc. is expecting a “strong Black Friday.” Popular promotions are for jewelry, electronics and outerwear, he said.
Hurst encouraged Massachusetts shoppers to help out local businesses this weekend.
“Small Business Saturday has really taken on a life of its own,” he said. “You have a lot of Main Street organizations and chambers of commerce sending that message to support local, not just on Small Business Saturday but throughout the season and year.”
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