One of the biggest shopping weekends of the year is here, and Missouri outlet malls are expecting to benefit from the big increase in consumer spending.
The National Retail Federation estimates 164 million people will make purchases on Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. The organization’s annual survey shows that of those planning to shop during the long holiday weekend 21 percent intended to do so Thanksgiving Day, although Black Friday will remain the busiest day with 71 percent planning to shop.
Tanger Outlet Mall in Branson, like most of its sister locations across the country and in Canada, is trying to attract as many shoppers as possible during both days. It’s opening at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and will stay in operation for 28 straight hours until 10 p.m. on Black Friday.
Jamie Whiteis, general manager of the Branson mall, says the schedule fits perfectly for visitors who are there for the city’s many tourist attractions. “They can do the shopping, take advantage of the wonderful Thanksgiving weekend sales, and then also maybe make it out to Silver Dollar City for their Christmas lights,” said Whiteis. “And then several of the shows here in town are running Christmas shows and things like that.”
Branson is a major holiday season destination with a number of its venues that feature nationally known entertainers opting to stage Christmas shows.
There was a backlash in 2016 against Thanksgiving Day shopping as a growing number of major retailers decided to close down after years of operating on the holiday. One operator shut down all of its 72 malls after being open the previous year.
In 2018, retailers seem divided over whether to try and attract holiday shoppers or give their employees the day off. Macy’s stores are open from 5 p.m.-to-2 a.m. while Best Buy will welcome shoppers from 5 p.m.-to-1 a.m., and Springfield based Bass Pro Shops stores around the country will be in operation from 8 a.m.-to-6 p.m. Dillard’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Nordstrom are all closed.
Some other major outlet malls in Missouri have differing schedules on Thanksgiving Day. Legends Outlets, a prominent shopping location in the Kansas City area, is closed while St. Louis Premiere Outlets in Chesterfield is running the same schedule as Tanger Outlets in Branson, continuous from 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day until 10 p.m. Friday.
According to the National Retail Federation survey, Fifty-one percent of consumers are expected to shop on Small Business Saturday, with 78 percent of those saying they will do so specifically to support small businesses. 20 percent are expected to shop Sunday while 46 percent plan to take advantage of online bargains during Cyber Monday.
Whiteis with Tanger Outlets in Branson says brick and mortar stores inside his operation have successfully counteracted Cyber Monday with perks of their own. “You’re getting the product at the Black Friday price,” Whiteis said. “and then in most cases they’ll even take care of the shipping, the retailer will, if it’s something they didn’t have in stock.”
Meanwhile, the 2018 Deloitte holiday retail survey projects total retail sales will increase 5-to-5.6 percent over last year, with online sales likely to rise 17–22 percent and account for 57 percent of all purchases.
Deloitte, which provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services, credits the strong economy, at least until now, for a boost in holiday spending. Its figures indicate average holiday spending will increase from $1,226-to-$1,536 per consumer, with most of them planning to spend more or the same amount as they did last year.
Whiteis says stores in his outlet mall in Branson would be attractive over Thanksgiving weekend to those who plan to spend less this holiday season. “There’s a lot of, probably anywhere from 40 percent off in the entire store to in a couple of cases, probably 70 percent off,” said Whiteis.