Shopping Centers Today International

JAN 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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Page 45 of 59

of malls have no choice but to open if their retailers do, and they're willing to pay overtime to their associates," said Mez R. Birdie, CRX, CSM, direc- tor of retail and investment services at Orlando, Fla.–based NAI Realvest. "Since Thanksgiving sales are growing each year, it's well worth it for retail- ers, in added sales, and for owners, via percentage rent, to open on the holiday," he said, and this despite some dark spaces. The holiday shopping season seems to come earlier every year, and the door busters seem to get bigger and bigger, according to Gregory Maloney, CRX, CSM, chief executive officer of Americas retail at JLL. About 80 percent of the JLL survey respondents for 2015 said they ex- pected to ring up as much as 40 percent of their total holiday sales by Nov. 29. In the U.K., which began fully em- bracing Black Friday in 2014, retailers were not offering Black Friday 2015 deals before Thursday, though their sales typically spanned four days, ac- cording to Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, in Not- tinghamshire, England. Previously, late November was fairly quiet in the U.K., which does not celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Because Black Friday was far more successful there than expected in 2014, it was expanded in 2015, Bamfield says. But security and staff personnel out- numbered customers at many London stores on Black Friday morning as shop- pers chose to avoid the rain and make their purchases online, according to the published reports. Some U.K. retailers opted out of the door-busting game al- together on Black Friday 2015, includ- ing Walmart's U.K. arm, Asda, which instead cut prices over the course of the holiday season. "Customers have told us loud and clear that they don't want to be held hostage to a day or two of sales," said Asda Stores CEO Andy Clarke. Primark, Britain's highest-vol- ume clothing retailer, did not partici- pate either, arguing that the promotion offers no net sales gain. Oxfordshire's Bicester Shopping Vil- lage, which draws some 6 million visitors annually, chose to eschew Black Friday deep-discounting to avoid the previous year's traffic jams, website crashes, de- livery challenges and in-store scuffles, Bamfield says. U.K. retail analyst Richard Hyman went so far as to call Black Friday "a disaster," arguing that it transforms a near-full-margin December spend into a heavily discounted November spend. "Black Friday is the stupidest thing we've ever imported from America in retail," he told the financial press. Still, observers anticipated that U.K. retailers would en- joy 20 percent gains in online and store sales on Black Friday weekend 2015, up from the 2014 weekend, according to U.K. research firm Conlumino. Elsewhere, Black Friday remained popular. Madrid-based Spanish depart- ment store El Corte Inglés held its third annual Black Friday promotion, featur- ing discounts of up to 60 percent. Con- forama, Europe's second-largest furnish- ings chain (with some 200 stores across Croatia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland), of- fered cross-Continental deals, as did also French-based mass-market giant Car- refour. Ikea advertised such Black Fri- day promotions as 50 percent off select items at many of its stores, while retailers throughout Australia and India boosted their own Black Friday participation. In Mexico, Black Friday has inspired an an- nual weekend of discounts and relaxed credit, called in Spanish El Buen Fin (the good weekend). In France, on the other hand, retailers chose to keep the English- language name rather than employ the French translation: Vendredi noir. Back in the U.S., meanwhile, much was made of the stores that chose to stay shut on Thanksgiving Day 2015, with retailers and many consumers lauding such decisions as the "socially responsible" action. 46 S C T / J a n u a r y 2 0 1 6

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