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Prepped Shoppers Kept Retail Traffic Flowing On Black Friday


Following an initial
early-bird surge, Black Friday traffic
seemed no heavier than a typical busy
weekend at a host of New York metro
area retail stores.

The observation, by store managers
and TWICE field reports, mirrors a
national ShopperTrak study indicating
flat year-over-year sales and a modest
2.2 percent increase in traffic for the
brick-and-mortar channel on Black

New York area store managers similarly
gauged day-after-Thanksgiving
traffic and sales volume as comparable
to 2009, and attributed the seemingly
unspectacular turnout to improved
crowd control and a well-prepared

“Consumers did all their homework
and they came in prepared,” observed
Michael Wexler, who supervised Black
Friday at a Target store in Middletown,
N.J. About 800 customers had cued
up overnight, some camping out in
tents, although the headcount was
lower than last year.

“They knew what they wanted,
they had maps of the store, and they
shopped in teams,” he said. As a result,
the early-bird frenzy was over by
dawn and sales assumed the pace of
a “normal Saturday for us,” with Black
Friday volume on par with 2009.

Jon Jovel, general manager of a
Costco in Long Island City, N.Y.,
concurred. “It looked like consumers
knew what they wanted and did their
research,” he said. “They were well
informed.” Black Friday activity within
the CE department was “busy but not
crazy,” he noted, with TVs and home
theater products topping customer
shopping lists.

Mike Vitelli, president/Americas of
Best Buy, spent Black Friday at the
chain’s Union Square store in Manhattan.
“There were long lines outside and
business has been steady here,” he
told TWICE. “For us we look at the entire
weekend. Steady is great because
we are able to move the lines and get
[customers] through the store.”

At a Best Buy store in Holmdel,
N.J., area home services chief Frank
Baeli and department manager Adam
Zwickler said a decision to let in small
groups of early-bird shoppers before
the official 5:00 a.m. opening led to
shorter check-out times and virtually
no lines by 7:00 a.m. About 460
customers had cued up overnight for
limited supplies of $189 Toshiba laptops,
$700 50-inch 1080p Panasonic
plasmas and a last-minute TV and Wii
bundle that broke via broadcast ads.

“It was more controlled than I’ve
ever seen it,” Zwickler said.

At a Sears store in Middletown, N.J.,
customers were lined up at 5:00 a.m.
for a $600 Kenmore laundry pair and
$249 Dyson vacuum, among other
doorbusters. “There were some great
deals and we sold out pretty quickly,”
said Eleanor Marchese, assistant
store manager for electronics and appliances.
“People are more frugal but
they have money and they’re shopping.
They’re not just coming in for one item.”

Unlike other stores, Kmart’s Hazlet,
N.J., location enjoyed a year-over-year
increase in sales and traffic. “By 9:00
a.m. sales were up $13,000 over last
year and we had more foot traffic,” reported
store manager Jeffrey Holdren.