Maryland shoppers return to stores for Black Friday as retailers grapple with supply and staff issues – CBS Baltimore


BALTIMORE (WJZ) РMany Maryland shoppers returned to brick-and-mortar stores for Black Friday for deals. Ambre Dupr̩ was among them. She bought a new television at Timonium Best Buy.

“I got this TV for $ 549, and it’s usually like $ 1,000,” Dupre told WJZ investigator Mike Hellgren. “I didn’t see any arguments. someone just gave me their parking spot, so I was like, “Today is gonna be a good day.”

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Meghan Caine has also found some good deals. “Yeah, I just got a good deal on a TV. I just bought a mattress and got a really good deal on it. I find them, ”Caine said.

Both shoppers were excited to return to Black Friday traditions after many stayed home in 2020 due to the pandemic. “I love coming back. I’m all about the vaccine, all about the booster so we can come back and do things normally,” Caine said.

WJZ has seen plenty of people going to stores in downtown Towson, where mall managers say they see foot traffic at least equal to 2019.

“People like to go to stores when they are shopping for gifts. They like to touch a product, smell it, see it, ”said Katherine Cullen of the National Retail Federation.

And many started shopping earlier, fearing stores might run out of hot items as they face supply chain issues. The stores also launched offers earlier. “Almost half of buyers started buying and browsing before November. That’s an increase of about 42% from last year, ”Cullen said.

This year, many families have accumulated substantial savings to spend.

“There is a desire to get back to a sense of normalcy, so in-store shopping is one way to get there,” said Bryan Cannon, CEO and chief portfolio strategist at Cannon Advisers, which tracks consumer spending. and holiday shopping trends.

Some consumers might find the experience distressing, however, as retailers grapple with supply chain issues and staffing issues. For the month of November, online out-of-stock messages are up 261% from two seasons ago, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

Widespread delivery delays have led many consumers to take advantage of the pre-Black Friday deals to make sure they get their hands on the season’s hottest products.

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About 70 percent of buyers surveyed by consulting firm Deloitte said they had already started their holiday shopping by the last week of October. Eighty percent of first-time buyers’ budgets are expected to be spent by the end of Thanksgiving.

“As supply chain challenges continue to snowball, holiday shoppers quickly realized that a turtledove in hand is worth two in the bush,” said Stephen Rogers, executive director of Deloitte Insights Consumer Industry Center. “While spending over the Thanksgiving season will be on the rise, overall attendance will be down slightly. Many shoppers have already secured their wishlist items and taken advantage of “Black Friday” offers from retailers. That said, the first holiday shoppers are always willing to spend more on Thanksgiving, which presents a great opportunity for in-store and online retailers. “

Last year’s preference for online shopping has given way to consumer plans to buy both online and offline. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that more consumers will return to stores on Black Friday this year, with 48% saying they prefer a hybrid shopping experience.

Another feature of this year’s shopping season that might frustrate buyers is the rise in commodity prices. Toys, clothing, household appliances and electronics should cost between 5% and 15% more on average, according to Aurélien Duthoit, senior sector advisor at Allianz Research. TVs will experience the highest price spikes on average, up 17% from a year ago, according to the research firm.

Partly because of higher prices, consumer spending levels are set to break records this season, with the National Retail Federation predicting sales to increase between 8.5% and 10.5% from the 2020 holiday period. .

“I think it’s going to be a messy holiday season,” said Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData Retail. “It will be a little frustrating for retailers, consumers and workers. We’re going to see long queues, we’re going to see messy stores, we’re going to see delays when you collect orders online.

Retailers that have the right staff and strike the right balance between enforcing COVID-19 protocols while creating a stress-free experience for customers, according to an analyst, will win the holidays, according to an analyst.

“A huge struggle for retailers will be matching labor to demand,” said Cannon of Cannon Advisers. “It’s critical that the retailer gets it right – to capture this consumer demand. If they don’t follow social distancing protocols or hide or put the buyer at ease, you could lose buyer’s loyalty down the road. “

Retailers are also gearing up for Small Business Saturdays this weekend with specials.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott encourages people to share their small business shopping experiences online using the hashtag # BMore2Baltimore.

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