Early retail reports are not good as retail sales are not as robust as predicted. Also, the stress of the season has reared its ugly head all over the country as fights and brawls have broken out everywhere.
National and local retailers tried to get a jump on the holiday shopping season but it seems it has done little good for their bottom lines. Black Friday suddenly became Thursday at 6 p.m. this year, as retailers hoped to lure buyers in with early special deals and discounts. Stress, anxiety and frustration also seemed to be a huge part of the holiday season as serious fistfights and brawls broke out all over the country. Both male and female shoppers have been physically going at it at retailers and malls everywhere.
Local television stations were full of video of people fighting over certain toys and other items. One particular ugly occurrence happened at a WalMart in El Paso where a man actually engaged a police officer in a fist fight as the police officer tried to break up a fight.
The fighting was especially prevalent during Thanksgiving night sales. WalMart seemed to take the early prize for the most brawls breaking out, but retailers everywhere had to deal with them. Often the local police had to be called in to restore order. A fist fight between two men broke out at a mall food court in Louisville. They were punching and slapping and ripping one another’s shirts. The police had to come and break it up.
Early reports from the retail trenches suggest that sales have fallen dramatically this year compared to the recent past. Sales for late night Thanksgiving specials as well as Black Friday sales fell to their lowest point in two years. Brick and mortar retailers saw their sales fall from $11.6 billion in 2014 to $10.6 billion this year, reports Time magazine. The early Thanksgiving shopping saw sales fall by at least $200,000 compared to last year. Analysts suggest that the severe drop is due to a huge uptick in online shopping.
Online sales have leaped over 14 percent from last year and the weekend has so far seen $2.72 billion in ecommerce sales. Sales were strong for ecommerce right out of the gate and Cyber Monday is expected to set new records this season. Despite the online action, crowds were not that large at the country’s malls, shopping centers, and downtown shopping districts.
Some retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, GameStop, and Dollar Tree have been seeing strong sales as well as an upsurge in their stock. Many of the majors, however, like Macy’s and Nordstrom, have been struggling out of the gate. Recent marketing polls from Reuters and elsewhere have been mixed. Some say shopping will be down while others say people are going to spend more during the holiday shopping season.