Black Friday Crowds Less As Online Shopping Is Used More
By Alex Lloyd Gross
Retailers looking for Black Friday crowds pushing through doors were a bit shocked this year, when those crowds were noticeably smaller this year. At the Staples in Bensalem, a crowd of about four people waited until the doors opened. Most of the area stores saw similar results. When employees went online, they had to scurry around the store to fill orders for the people that bought their items online. Some of those people would make a trip to the store to pick up, others had their items shipped.
Behemoth Wal-Mart was open on Thanksgiving, in spite of a backlash. Walmart saw smaller crowds. The back lash was over employees pay. Most get straight time of $11.00/hr with a 10percent discount to be used in the store. They also got a meal. This is a break in the norm, as most businesses that require employees to be away from their families during the holidays pay time and a half. It’s not required but it is a gesture of good will towards their workers.
Inside, most of the smaller items got scooped up quick. Miss them and they are gone. Socks, electronics and cheap shoes were the fastest movers. On Black Friday, about 9:00 AM the Franklin Mills location was light in traffic. Parking spots were available by the doors and security tape was taken down by the register. The wait for checkout was less than two minutes. Compared to four years ago, it is almost the same as a regular day.
The same for Target and other big box retailers. Best Buy did have lines of people cued up before store opening . Block Friday is a do or die for most retailers to get their season out of the red. meanwhile at Staples, unsold gamer chairs sat up front and Wal-Mart had pallets of unsold 50 inch flat screen TV’s.