FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 20, 2017
A starting whistle blows this week for holiday shopping online and in stores
Read another business-related article and share an interesting fact or quote.
Pick a holiday feature and describe the feelings or memories it stirs.
Can you spot a gift or product category you'd like? Tell why.
Retailers hope shoppers are geeked for the year's biggest shopping weekend. Thursday's holiday is like a ready, set, shop whistle for the gift-buying sprint to December holidays. First comes Black Friday, which starts Thanksgiving evening at Walmart, Target and Best Buy and earlier that afternoon at JC Penney. Others, including Costco and Sam's Club, let employees enjoy the holiday before doors reopen early Friday. Next is Small Business Saturday, when neighborhood shops and other independent sellers offer deals to compete with malls. The third day of big sales, called Cyber Monday, features Nov. 27 online specials. Electronics and video games are among items on sale.
Although bargain hunters will hit malls after turkey dinner, Thanksgiving store openings don't seem too popular. A survey of more than 500 Americans in late September shows that 57 percent dislike the practice.Regardless of when sales are launched, the real battle this holiday season – and all year – is between stores we can walk into and those whose sites we click onto. The convenience of e-commerce hurts traditional retailers, with some large bankruptcies this year and old school brands like Sears closing many locations. "It has been a lousy year for nearly every U.S. retailer not named Amazon.com," The Wall Street Journal newspaper noted recently. (A short video below shows an Amazon shipping center.) At Flagstaff Mall in that Arizona city, General Manager Hillary Goitia says: "This [Friday] is our bread and butter. This is what we prepare for all year. It's exciting, it's fun, it's the best day of the year." There are 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a relatively long stretch. And Christmas is on a Monday this year, giving tardy consumers an extra weekend to get all the names on their lists crossed off. Others are shopping for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.
Mall executive says: "We get that not everyone thinks of Thanksgiving as a day to shop, but we're going to be here for those that do. Last year we were open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and the building was packed." -- Ed Jaroszewicz, marketing director at South Park Mall in Cleveland
Industry observer says: "We're seeing more and more retailers offering their actual Black Friday deals early. Best Buy, for instance, hosted early deals when its ad leaked on Nov. 8. . . . Retailers are trying to get consumers to shop all month long, as opposed to only on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday." -- Courtney Jespersen of NerdWallet, a personal finance website
Professor says: "Offline shopping remains quite popular. Shopping is an experience, and typically people enjoy the process of shopping – walking in the store and touching and trying on the thing you want to buy. And, the minute you buy it, it is immediately yours. You don't have to wait for it." -- Rami Zwick, University of California-Riverside marketing professor
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