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Inside Retail (Nov 27th, 2019)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's special edition is focused on Black Friday. Long ago, people used to line up outside of stores and rush in for crazy deals that were doorbusters. There also were some really egregious things that happened on Black Friday, from fights to super gross things any retail employee has heard of and hopefully not personally encountered. However, Black Friday started to get eclipsed by Cyber Monday, then Giving Tuesday, and Small Business Saturday. Alibaba's 24-hour Singles' Day this year brought in more revenue than the entire 5 day period of Black Friday through Cyber Monday last year. 

Are you shopping on Black Friday? Hit reply and tell me your shopping plan. 

-Cassidy

1. Let's kick off our Black Friday issue with some insight from a recent study commissioned by the National Retail Federation. The NRF expects over 165 million people will shop between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. NRF's president called the time period a "five-day event" and said, "even as people are starting to purchase gifts earlier in the season, consumers still enjoy finding good Thanksgiving deals and passing time shopping with family and friends over the long holiday weekend." NRF expects November and December holiday sales will be up approximately 4 percent, between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion - NRF

2. Black Friday used to be a milestone of the holiday season but it "just isn't what it used to be" according to research from PwC. The day of Black Friday has been "muted" because people shop earlier and online. PwC found “only 35 percent of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday this year — dropping a full 38.9 percent from 2015." Holiday spending has shifted as promotions are longer and more deals are online. - WWD

3. Here's a Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips for 2019 list from Consumer Reports. Echoing the research that PwC found that Black Friday is no longer a one-day event, Consumer Reports' #1 tip is to "Start Early." Other tips include studying flyers, comparing mobile and social media messaging, using loyalty programs, and three specific tips for getting good deals on TVs. - CONSUMER REPORTS

4. The second item on this list of how to "dominate Macy's Black Friday" is to only go to the store if you want a doorbuster. Another interesting tip here is to not buy beauty form Macy's and instead go to Ulta because its Black Friday deals are stronger. It seems the customer sentiment to shop online is partially in line with Macy's holiday 2019 strategy. Macy's is launching a new eComm app that also has store maps and promotions to help make in-store shopping easier. - KCL

5. Last week, Target reported it beat analysts' earnings expectations in Q3 and raised its full-year profit outlook in advance of Black Friday and the whole holiday season. CEO Brian Cornell said last year was Target's "most successful holiday in more than a decade," and this year promises to stack up well too. Target's initiatives include opening Disney shop-in-shops, powering the relaunched Toys "r" Us eComm site, and investing in stores, particularly in the beauty area with better lighting and fixtures. Here's a closer look at Target's Black Friday deals. - FORBES

6. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said at CNBC's Evolve Summit that, "we could go away at any minute" like any retailer if it does not meet customers' wants and needs. Walmart was once synonymous with being a hub for Black Friday shopping (and fights), but as consumers have shifted online it has also had to prioritize eComm. McMillon commented, "I didn’t understand how much of a digital transformation was needed [when I first started]," and that it's still underway. Walmart recently reported online sales grew 41 percent over last year and that it is focusing on strengthening its online grocery business. CNET is tracking Walmart's Black Friday deals, as well as some of its competitors. - CNET

7. REI is in its fifth year of its anti-Black Friday "Opt Outside" campaign. Since 2015, REI closed its stores on Black Friday and has gained huge customer support for those wishing to #OptOutside instead of shop. (12.5 million Instagram posts, over 800,000 tweets.) This year, REI is leading 100 community cleanups at state parks and trailheads. Check here to find a local store.- PATCH

Written and curated by Cassidy Mantor, a brand storyteller with a decade of retail marketing experience including in-house at Nike and Oakley. Occasionally she writes a “think piece” about fashion law for the American Bar Association. She is happy to be based in coastal Virginia except when there’s a hurricane. She can be found on LinkedIn.

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