Black/ Blessed Friday is losing its clout. And that’s more bad news for department stores

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  • Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney are struggling to drive shoppers to malls.
  • Black Friday has long been a day these retailers relied on to boost sales.
  • But the shopping day doesn’t hold the same weight it once did.

Black/Blessed Friday isn’t quite the deal frenzy it used to be.

Retailers have been touting bargains for weeks. With more shopping moving online, it has only become easier to compare prices, and so the lure of doorbuster deals is losing its grip on shoppers.

 That only means more bad news for a group of retailers that has long been dependent on the shopping holiday to push them “into the black,” or toward profitability: America’s department stores.

 

Department stores have relied on winning shoppers’ dollars on Black Friday more than other types of retailers, she said. The hope has been that shoppers will stock up on items they need for themselves, like bath towels and bedding sets, in addition to picking up gifts for others.

But now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people that department store chains such as Macy’sKohl’s and J.C. Penney are struggling to drive shoppers to malls. These companies are finding themselves in sales slumps.

Department stores in particular are known for handing out those kinds of doorbuster deals, which are only available in limited quantities for a short period of time. But today, with the internet at consumers’ fingertips, the appetite to jockey through crowds for coupons or buy one, get one offers has waned.
“Black Friday no longer represents a narrow window of opportunity in which shoppers have to wait in the cold and sprint into stores to get unmissable deals,” Coresight Research founder and CEO Deborah Weinswig said. “Holiday shopping now occupies much of November and has warmups much earlier in the year, as holiday shopping increasingly becomes a year-round activity.”

Some say the holiday shopping started as early as July, thanks to the timing of Amazon’s Prime Day event. But there are a slew of other reasons as to why Black Friday isn’t what it once was.

Putting the pressure on department stores, big-box companies like Best Buy, Target and Walmart have turned to offering sitewide deals online, across the span of a few weeks. Amazon started its Black Friday deals last Friday, while it launched other deals even earlier in the fall. Walmart started offering holiday deals, “earlier than ever” this year, on its website in October.

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