November 24, 2018

Shoppers strap on helmets and shoulder pads, looking to score deals (Observer-Reporter) »

Black Friday takes on a football-like aura at Tanger Outlets, and it extends beyond the rush of humanity.

“People come here early to tailgate,” said Nicole Baculik, general manager of the South Strabane Township mall. “They bring extra turkey to eat in the parking lots. It’s crazy, but it’s happening.”

The football metaphor likewise applies to what Baculik acknowledges is the biggest retail day of the year at Tanger – and, of course, at the majority of most shopping locations across North America.

“We refer to it as our Super Bowl,” she said. “This is what people look for to jump-start their holiday season.”

Many of you who are reading this early Friday morning have already hit the stores, are there now or will be en route soon. This is Black Friday, the Godzilla of retail ventures that breathes fire every November. Shopping actually begins on Thanksgiving at numerous venues and continues – sometimes with a break, sometimes nonstop – to late Friday night.

It is the unofficial beginning of the traditional holiday shopping season, followed a day later by Small Business Saturday and three days later by Cyber Monday. (Will Traumatic Tuesday follow in the next few years?)

“We are all excited,” Baculik said Wednesday morning, about 30 hours before she was to join upwards of 1,000 employees – regular and seasonal – for Tanger’s Black Friday kickoff. It began at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving – at most stores – and the event will run at all stores straight through to 10 tonight. The GM will get a break Friday morning, when assistant manager Tina Cario arrives.

As most Black Friday shoppers can attest, this day is more than a retail extravaganza.

“You can shop and get some fantastic deals, but this is also about fun and spending time with your families,” Baculik said. “It’s multi-generational. We’re seeing younger people, like college students, around 1 or 2 a.m., sometimes in a mixed group. We’re seeing a lot more men out, too. This used to be strictly a woman thing.

“We usually see shoppers going to breakfast, and usually 8 a.m., we see another round of heavy shoppers.”

Black Friday is, indeed, Godzilla-like, according to the business-solutions website womply.com. The site compiles an annual State of Local Retail Report, which analyzes transactions throughout 2017 at 54,000 local, independent retailers nationwide to uncover trends. Included is a holiday season study of Pennsylvania. Here are a few snippets:

  • Black Friday is the best revenue day of the year, with retailers realizing a 119 percent increase in sales over the average day. That is 19th nationwide.
  • Pennsylvania retailers make 19.4 percent of their total yearly revenue during the holiday season. That ranks 13th for sales volume.
  • The top five sales days and top three sales weeks of the year come between Black Friday and the Saturday before Christmas.
  • Small Business Saturday is the 17th best revenue day of the year. Retailers experience a 38 percent increase in sales over the average day.

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