It’s not the busiest shopping day of the year, but Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for retailers. Missouri Retailers Association President David Overfelt says Black Friday was at one time the day retailers started to see profits. Now it is basically a barometer of what can be expected for the rest of the holiday shopping season.
So, What kind of a season can retailers expect this year? Overfelt says that while the dropping cost of gasoline has been good news for consumers, many Missourians are still experiencing tough times that might affect their purchasing. "People do not have as much disposable income," says Overfelt. "However … we’re still predicting a 2 percent growth over last year’s sales and last year’s sales were very good."
As for Black Friday, specifically, Overfelt does expect an increase over last year – but not as big an increase as retailers might like to see. "A lot of chief merchandising officers are predicting a 1.2 percent increase over last year," says Overfelt, "But last year they had an 8.3 percent increase."
And, if Black Friday sales go in the opposite direction? "To see growth," says Overfelt. "That will be a key. If we have a day where we actually go backwards – then we’ve got some problems."
Overfelt says retailers should benefit from the fact the election campaign is over and politicians are no longer constantly talking down the economy – creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.