Thursday, November 22, 2007
THE EARLY STORE GETS THE SHOPPER
By Sonya Padgett, Las Vegas Review Journal . 11/22/2007
Expect to see stores and malls opening earlier than ever Friday in an effort to "capture first business," say Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, retail consultants based in Chicago.
Retailers have learned that consumers shop at the stores that open early, especially if they offer good incentives such as deep discounts and gifts with purchase. Now retailers are competing to be the first stop shoppers make on Black Friday, Kizer says.
Las Vegas Premium Outlet and Las Vegas Outlet Center plan to open at midnight Friday; last year, the outlets opened at 6 a.m.
Customers asked for earlier shopping hours so the company complied, says outlet spokeswoman Michele Rothstein.
"Outlet shoppers love the thrill of the hunt and want great deals," Rothstein says, adding "we wouldn't do it if it didn't benefit us and our merchants, because it's a major undertaking. It does separate us and gives us a distinctive position of being a place serving those who are looking for the best deals."
J.C. Penney and Mervyn's are among the stores that will open early, at 4 a.m. In 2006, J.C. Penney opened at 5 a.m., says Chuck Vogel, store manager for the Galleria at Sunset Mall store in Henderson.
The early opening has less to do with beating the competition than it does with giving customers more time to shop, Vogel says. As in years past, the company is offering an exclusive Disney-themed ornament, while supplies last. Customers also will receive a $10 coupon to use on Saturday. Vogel expects the ornaments to be gone by 6 a.m.
Though the day is likely to be busy, shoppers who start early begin to slow their buying around 11 a.m. To noon, Kizer says. That's when the mental calculator adds up their purchases, which can cause shoppers to start exhibiting a little buyers' remorse.
Studies have shown that customers who shop with a cart will spend 15 minutes longer in a store and 25 percent more on merchandise, Kizer says, so expect to be chased down by a salesclerk if you forgo a basket.
Overall, this year should be much like previous Black Fridays, at least in terms of what stores offer as incentives and sales, Kizer and Bender say.
Every year, the team goes out on Black Friday and studies shoppers, their motives and strategies. They also examine retailers and their approach to the big day.
Some retailers will offer incredible deals while others will offer discounts such as 50 percent off one item, Bender says.
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