For about a decade, give or take a year or so, I have been visiting the same three stores on Black Friday at around the same time – 9 a.m. to noon – P.C. Richard & Son, Best Buy and Costco, all in Long Island City, Queens, minutes away from Manhattan and minutes away from my home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Give credit to our senior editor and retail maven Alan Wolf – he always is up early or nowadays stays up late Thanksgiving – to visit stores on Black Friday and will enjoy his definitive coverage soon. Since I am his backup, I go at around 9 a.m. or so every year.
With all the talk about online sales and the fading star of TVs and laptops, it was interesting to see that those categories were the most popular categories in the stores I visited.
Traffic was higher at P.C. Richard and Best Buy than in the past couple of years at the same time at that morning. At Costco store traffic was less than what I remember in previous years, but as Jon Jovel said, traffic in the CE department was steady and, like Best Buy and P.C. Richard, big screen TVs and laptops were popular.
At the three stores I visited big-screen TVs were aggressively priced – those larger than 60 inches and also some 55-inch models – especially from Sharp and Samsung.
At Best Buy there was plenty of traffic at the video game area and digital imaging when I was there. Costco made a strong push on video surveillance with three brands, while P.C. Richard had a lot of soundbars available and, again, a lot of Sharp and Samsung products there for Black Friday deals.
Costco has had a Bose/Pioneer receiver deal display on Black Friday and before the holiday – I know, since I am a regular customer (four, five times a year) at that location.
Digital cameras, which may not have the margins they used to have, were displayed in volume at all three stores and seemed to attract attention.
Weather in the Northeast was fine for those going to brick-and-mortar stores this Black Friday and holiday weekend. I am online via Time Warner and access to do this blog and browse seems … OK. Future analysts (next year) may have to measure how effective carriers are in providing web access to consumers to really see how consumers can shop on what has become “Black Thanksgiving Weekend + Cyber Monday.”
But this Thanksgiving weekend, especially here in the Northeast, more than a few people stopped shopping to help out people affected by Hurricane Sandy – which is what Thanksgiving and the holiday season is all about, right?