Thursday, December 5, 2013


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No surprises to holiday weekend sales

ALBANY – Thanksgiving openings, even-earlier “Black Friday” sale prices, and Hanukkah’s start staggered the traditional opening of this year’s holiday shopping season, but New York’s retail community nonetheless welcomed plenty of shoppers on the hunt for bargains and fun in stores small and large.

By the time the dust cleared on Sunday night, New York’s retailers tallied a weekend on par with 2012 levels, with sales generally even with a comparable period from one year ago.

“It’s the perfect time to roll out the old phrase about comparing apples to oranges,” said Retail Council President and CEO James R. Sherin. “We’re looking at a transition year with more merchants than ever spreading out the post-Thanksgiving promotions, adding to the notion that “Black Friday” is no longer the busiest shopping day of the year.”

Thanksgiving openings accelerated primarily after retailers were challenged by community leaders to take steps to reduce Black Friday crowd surges and potentially dangerous conditions for shoppers and store employees alike.

“Obviously, shoppers responded to the Thanksgiving openings where they took place,” Sherin said. “Stores were busy with the hard-core bargain hunters, and the pressure was off on Friday so that everyone could enjoy a more leisurely shopping experience.”

Sherin said retailers surveyed were upbeat about and prepared for the next few weeks, notwithstanding national predictions for a holiday shopping season marked by modest sales increases for retailers.

“There’s no question that shoppers are out there demanding bargains,” he said. “It’s what they’ve come to expect this time of year, and retailers are looking for new ways to deliver low prices and great value. You’ll see a ton of promotion over the next few weeks as the clock ticks toward December 25.”

Hot sellers for the heavily-promotional weekend included XBox and PlayStation upgrades, video games, LeapPad, Big Hug Elmo, “Despicable Me” figures, winter sports equipment, cold weather clothing, and Christmas decorations.