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‘Your budget is your hot trend’: Retailers try to lure price-sick shoppers with big discounts ahead of Black Friday

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Black Friday is fast approaching, and several Water Tower Place retailers have been advertising big discounts for the past few days.

The American Girl store touted its Black Friday early access sale with 20% off. Forever 21 advertised up to 70% off, American Eagle up to 60% off, Hollister 25%-40% off, Aeropostale 50%-70% off. (Exclusions apply to most transactions.)

But despite the price cut, not everyone A recent visit to the Michigan Avenue Mall was for shopping. A suburban woman told the Tribune that she will be doing more “window shopping” this holiday season because things are so expensive.

Uptowners Marche Miller, 41, and Mary Haynes, 38, attended an interactive Harry Potter exhibit in the mall at Water Tower Place. But Miller, a self-confident maker, said she plans to make most of her holiday gifts for couples this year, including a Marvel-themed crochet blanket she plans to give her brother for Christmas.

“For two years everything was very disrupted because of COVID,” Miller said. “Now everything is back, but nothing can be done yet because everything is so expensive.”

Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago is empty on November 22, 2022, three days before Black Friday.

Although inflation has eased, consumer prices rose 7.7% in October compared to the same period last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Major retailers are responding to inflation by offering big price cuts and holiday deals that began in October.

As Americans battle rising prices for everything from rent to groceries, retailers are keenly aware that consumers are spending less money than they did last year. The National Retail Federation predicts that retail spending this year’s holiday season will grow at the rate of inflation, i.e. between 6% and 8%, reaching somewhere between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. doing.Deloitte predicts smaller holiday retail 4% to 6% sales growth.

Jane Elfers, CEO of The Children’s Place, said in her November earnings call, “Dealing with 40 years of record-high inflation has certainly reduced the purchasing power of our core customers.” Our customers are in a position to choose between discretionary spending and intrinsic spending: We’re out of food, we’re out of gas.”

Nearly 60% of people surveyed by Numerator, a Chicago-based research firm, said they were worried about their ability to afford holiday gifts. And 93% said they plan to adjust their shopping habits to accommodate price increases, such as looking for additional sales or buying gifts for fewer people.

Target CEO Brian Cornell told investors on this month’s earnings call that “sustained high inflation, rapidly rising interest rates and heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook are driving consumer I’m stressed,” he said.

The Morph store in Chicago's Water Tower Place will have a sale on November 22, 2022, three days before Black Friday.

Like many other retailers, the company responded by offering Black Friday deals early. On an earnings call in early November, her chief growth officer, Christina Hennington, said Target was already offering its best price of the season. The company has also promised customers that if the prices of the items they buy from Target drop later in the season, i.e. until Christmas Eve, they will match prices.

Gabriella Santaniello, founder of retail research firm A Line Partners, said: “Your budget is your hot trend.”

According to Deloitte’s annual Holiday Shopping Survey, more than 30% of Chicago-area respondents said they plan to start shopping for the holidays this year, and nearly a quarter of respondents He said he expects to run out of budget for the holiday season by the end of the year. October.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy GlobalData, said there are two reasons for the shift to early holiday discounts. One is that most retailers are overstocked. One reason is that he over-ordered inventory to avoid a recurrence of the shortages that plagued him last season. One reason, Sanders said, is that price-conscious shoppers want to spread out their holiday spending, rather than all at once.

Still, nearly 70% of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving weekend, and the same percentage of those shoppers said they planned to shop on Black Friday. says. 38% of holiday weekend shoppers said they plan to shop on Cyber ​​Monday.

The best deals still start on Black Friday and could continue for weeks to come, especially if the day’s sales aren’t so good, Sanders said.

“Retailers may look at post-Black Friday inventory and say they have a lot of stuff they need to sell off,” he said. “Therefore, they could be significantly discounted in the coming weeks.”

A sign at Coles on Elston Avenue in Chicago on November 22, 2022 warns shoppers of the Black Friday sale.

According to Santaniello, Black Friday discounts are unlikely to be significantly higher than Cyber ​​Monday discounts and vice versa. “If a retailer says she’s 40% off on Black Friday, on Monday she’ll probably be 40% off,” she said.

Santaniello also doesn’t think shoppers will get much more financial benefit from doing their Black Friday shopping in-store than online, but he doesn’t think retailers will charge shipping if they don’t offer it for free. She said she could save money.

The NRF expects a slight increase in the number of shoppers at stores on Black Friday this year, with 67% of those planning to shop on that day, up from 64% last year. increase.

Chiana Distasi, chief marketing and communications officer for the Chicago Loop Alliance, said downtown holiday pedestrian numbers could be above 2019 levels this year. As of last week, the number of pedestrians in the Loop had increased by 28% year-on-year, according to the Loop Alliance.

Chicago-area shoppers plan to spend just over 60% of their holiday budgets online, according to Deloitte.

Experts say the days of lining up for Thanksgiving leftovers before they get cold are all but over.

“Part of it is economic. It doesn’t make sense,” Sanders said. “But part of the reason is that we recognize that employees need time off.”

In the Chicago area, the Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora opened on Thanksgiving from 10am to 8pm and was closed last year. However, Water Tower Place, Oakbrook Center, Woodfield Mall, Northbrook Court, Orlando Square and Gurney Mills are all closed on Thursdays. The mall opens at 6am on Black Friday.

Other major retailers such as Kohl’s, Target, Macy’s, Walmart, JC Penney and Best Buy are closed on Thanksgiving, but open at 5am or 6am on Black Friday.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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