“I don’t really need a TV but I will probably buy one.”

Lucy Hooker
New York, Business reporter

Caption for the image

Samantha and AJ seek deals for clothes and electronic items

If everything goes according to plan and they aren’t too tired from Thanksgiving, AJ will be leaving Manhattan at midnight with Samantha for serious Black Friday shopping in New Jersey.

“I’m excited,” says AJ, who works at a school. “It will likely be an overwhelming crowd, like I’ve seen it before.”

Although they don’t require a brand new TV, AJ is interested in a 70-inch screen if it’s available at a discount.

He says, “Every year whether you have one or not you search for one.”

You can also find video games, electronics and clothes. He said, “Whatever is the most discounted.”

Samantha, who is a security guard and has been home for a year in a tracksuit. Samantha says that she now needs something stretchier to help her cope with the Thanksgiving meal.

In the midst of the Christmas glitter and the sequined partywear, US stores have lined up price discounts again for the Black Friday weekend. This traditionally marks the start to the holiday shopping season.

Despite the backdrop of rising prices and staffing problems and rising Covid rates, this year looks promising.

Many Americans saved money in the wake of the pandemic. These savings were topped by tax credits and stimulus checks from the government.

This money is already making its way to the cash registers. Retailers have sold 15 percent more this year than last year and 21% more in 2019 so far.

Mark Mathews (Vice President of the National Retail Federation) says, “It’s almost like adding 50,000,000 Americans to the economic demand.”

He is not alone in predicting that this spending frenzy will continue.

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GlobalData Retail’s managing director Neil Saunders says, “The consumer has never been more in demand.” We’ve never witnessed spending so high.

He says that people have been socializing more and are buying clothes for parties. Many have gained weight or lost it during the pandemic and now need to purchase new clothes. Cash that isn’t being used to pay for travel and commutes can be spent on items for the house.

According to him, it amounts up to “astonishingly” high levels of spending.

The big retailers and chain stores are able to capitalize on this trend. Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Abercrombie & Fitch, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bath and Body Works, accessories firm Tapestry, have all managed to cash in, with strong results already.

Neil Saunders explains it in part to America’s “extremely strong” psyche. He says that people spend because of their optimism and patrioticism.

Paris Ratcliff and her aunt Phyllis put this down to happiness – and sheer relief that things have improved over last year.

Paris, an educational administrator from Chicago says: “I know for certain that I’m spending less money this year.”

“Joy makes it more expensive,” says Phyllis’ aunt. She is a teacher for special needs children.

Their gift-buying will be boosted by a sense of compassion and camaraderie that has been triggered by the pandemic.

Paris bought a pair Kate Spade shoes and Phyllis a Ralph Lauren coat at 60% off Macy’s.

However, not all areas are as bustling and vibrant as they could be.

There are many vacant windows advertising new tenants along Fifth Avenue, and in Soho.

Spending has picked up, but only in patches, with city centers still being emptied out by workers at home and the tourism industry just starting to recover.

Chief executive of Telsey Advisory Group, Dana Telsey says that the areas in the suburbs look a lot busier than the areas near the middle of town.

Supply chain issues, which leave some stock in transit for Christmas, also affect firms differently.

According to Ms Telsey, those problems have “put an end to everything.”

According to her, “Overall, most big players will have what you need in,” Shopping will find that there are less big discounts, even though inventories are lower, she says.

Walmart and other large retailers have been able to leverage their relationships with suppliers and purchase air freight, but it’s not the same for small retailers, according to Mark Mathew, National Retail Federation.

He says that they don’t always have the purchasing power. If you deal with freight companies and are multi-billionaire, your relationship will be better, more profitable, and the company is likely to assist you in difficult times.

This is certainly Karen Barwick’s experience, having established Boomerang Toys in downtown New York’s Tribeca neighborhood 19 years ago.

Her shop stocks all the top brands and hand-made wooden toys.

She is having a hard time finding the complete range of Lego and Jellycats as well as other essential Christmas gifts.

The Hotwheels mini racing cars are an excellent big seller and they’re in short supply.

She said that although we have 30 models in back-order, there are only two of them on the shelves.

Ravensburger puzzles are no longer available to her. She says that they stopped taking new orders after September, probably because they didn’t have the capacity to fulfill them.

She is also paying a lot more for the stock that she’s buying. She says, “We are trying to not pass it onto the consumer but there are occasions we must.”

Boomerang still does only 60% of their business in 2019 Although the shop will remain open Friday, they don’t expect a very busy day.

“It won’t be a big year, but we will get through it and continue to have solid sales,” she said.

Source: BBC.com

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