Black Friday Sales Increase For Majority of Specialty Retailers

(Boulder, CO) – Holiday sales started off on the right foot for Specialty retailers, according to Leisure Trends Group’s annual Black Friday survey. Over half (51% ) of specialty retailers reported increased sales over the Black Friday weekend compared to 2010, and 38% enjoyed double-digit increases. Equally important, according to Retail Relations Manager Greg Shoenfeld,  the majority of retailers also forecast increased sales for the entire holiday season. ” In spite of the slow economic recovery in the US and the financial market volatility caused by the European debt crisis, consumers seem to be looking the other way.  The increase in Black Friday sales and positive retailer outlook all point toward a strong finish to 2011″, he explains.  Leisure Trends Group conducted the survey this week among specialty Cycling, Independent Shoe, Outdoor, Run, Scuba Dive, Ski/Snowboard, and Sporting Goods retailers, yielding responses from 178 retailers with over 600 retail locations from every state in the lower 48.

Small Business Saturday – With Black Friday dominated by door-busters and deep discounts at many big box, department and mall-based retailers, specialty stores often find it difficult to compete. For the second year in a row American Express and a coalition of companies promoted Small Business Saturday encouraging consumers to Shop Small by supporting local and independent businesses. Thanks to social media and national ad campaigns, the idea is catching on – 55% of respondents reported participating in the new shopping holiday, though only 44% indicated consumers shopped their stores as a result of Small Business Saturday.

  • Stores who observed Small Business Saturday had a more positive forecast for the remainder of the holiday shopping season – 63% forecast increases vs. 55% of those who did not observe SBS.

Discounts and Promotions – Unlike door buster discounts advertised by big box, chain, and department stores, specialty retailers remained more focused on servicing customers, and building relationships. Rather than lure customers in with loss-leading deals, most stores reported modest discounts in the 10-20% range with occasional deeper discounts on discontinued and out-of-season products.

Advertising – With limited marketing budgets, retailers are leveraging less expensive communication tools to drive new business and increase repeat business. Whereas last year Email was the preferred medium for communicating promotions, this year Facebook has claimed the top spot. Email and Store Website tied for 2nd place. Note that Twitter moved into the 3rd position, beating out traditional print advertising.

Forecast – 2011 has generally been a strong year for specialty. Despite persistent market instability some sport specialty industries have enjoyed record sales. Continued growth through the Black Friday weekend gives specialty retailers a reason to remain optimistic for the remainder of the holiday shopping season.

  • 61% percent of those surveyed expect sales to increase from last holiday season.
  • 33% forecast modest increases of 1-9%
  • 28% of stores forecast double-digit increases from last year.

Retailers most concerned about weather – Many retailers commented that weather was a determining factor in Black Friday weekend spending.

Retailers most concerned about weather – Many retailers commented that weather was a determining factor in Black Friday weekend spending.

Specialty retailers have ample remaining opportunity for the holiday shopping season, especially if the weather cooperates – On November 21-23rd Leisure Trends Group conducted a survey of our proprietary Most Active Americans Panel™ to gauge planned purchase behavior during the holiday season – 73% of respondents indicated they would be making holiday purchases in late November through mid-December. Specialty retailers still have several weeks to draw customers into stores to find the perfect gift for their family, friends, and for themselves. To learn more about the products Active Americans want for the holidays please contact us to gather more insights from Leisure Trends Group’s “All I want for the Holidays 2011” report

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