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By Lisa Lakey
For the U of A System Division of Agriculture
LITTLE ROCK -- Not too long ago, consumers hoping to scoop up the hottest items at
the lowest prices woke long before the crack of dawn to stand in even longer lines
on Black Friday. More recently, in what has been dubbed “the war on Thanksgiving,”
shoppers have hit the stores before those tasty leftovers have gotten cold. In some
cases, even before the bird hit the oven.
The war seemingly over as large retailers including the Mall of America, announce
they will be closed to allow their employees time to celebrate the holiday with their
families. However, it’s a decision that’s as much about the bottom line as it is about
families, according to the latest info from ShopperTrak, a retail analytics company.
ShopperTrak said its studies show that rather than increasing profits, the extra day
of shopping didn’t actually increase sales, just dispersed them differently.
The National Retail Federation expects retail sales in November and December (excluding
autos, gas and restaurants) to increase 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion. Online sales
are forecast to increase between 7 and 10 percent over last year to as much as $117
billion. Retailers are expected to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers
this holiday season, in line with last year’s 675,300 holiday positions.
“Unless there is a big increase in sales for that time period, it might not be worth
the additional cost of staying open – utilities, security, holiday pay for employees,”
said Laura Hendrix, an assistant professor of family and consumer economics for the
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Also, it looks like online
spending is growing larger proportionately. It probably doesn’t cost much to keep
online ordering available and that seems to be the biggest increase for shoppers.
I suspect that if there was a big enough return on investment for stores, they would
continue to open on Thanksgiving.”
While a small handful of retailers have announced their plans to open before Friday,
most are sticking with releasing their Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads early, increasing
anticipation as the holidays draw near. Some retailers, such as Amazon, offer quite
a few deals leading up to the most anticipated shopping days of the year.
Whether you plan on hitting the stores before dawn on Black Friday or hitting the
couch the following Monday, Hendrix suggests planning ahead by checking ads, making
a list (check it twice!), checking websites for any coupons that can be combined and
setting a spending limit before opening your wallet.
Here, she offers a few more tips for shoppers this season:
For more information about consumer spending, visit http://uaex.uada.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-finance/default.aspx or contact your county extension office.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) firstname.lastname@example.org