Shopping ticked up for local and national businesses throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend compared with last year.
Some business owners point to stronger support of Small Business Saturday and others say the later Thanksgiving holiday lit a fire under consumers to do their holiday shopping.
Either way, the number of people who shopped Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday hit an all-time high in the United States at 189.6 million, according to National Retail Federation data. Calling it a 14% increase from shopping activity last year, the NRF also reported the average consumer spent $362 during the Thanksgiving week.
Local business owners say consumers are starting to support Small Business Saturday, with a majority of weekend sales generated the day after Black Friday.
The daylong event was created by American Express in 2010 to encourage consumers to support small businesses. It’s generated roughly $103 billion since 2018, according to American Express.
Bonnie Nolen, co-owner of Bon Bon’s Candy House, said the store’s Small Business Saturday sales more than doubled the year prior.
“I just wanted to get what we got last year, so I was really happy,” she said, declining to disclose sales. “I attribute that to being in a new location in such a great shopping center.”
Bon Bon’s Candy House moved in September to the Brentwood Center from its longtime home at 3857 S. Campbell Ave.
“I could tell a big difference here, with people walking in with bags from Plaza Shoe Store, Staxx and Jellybeans,” Nolen said. “It was cool seeing those people come in with bags from other shops and then shopping with us.”
Nolen kept her Small Business Saturday deals under wraps, literally, until shoppers were ready to check out. She said they’d open a chocolate bar to discover the discount, from 10% to 40%, written on the wrapper. One person won a $50 gift card, she said.
At Five Pound Apparel LLC, Small Business Saturday sales nearly tripled those of Black Friday. Co-owner Brina Thomas pointed to the rainy and cold weather on Black Friday for low turnout, which she said was down year-over-year.
She said the clothing store clocked 950 transactions on Small Business Saturday at the downtown and Farmers Park locations and half that number the day prior.
Thomas declined to disclose weekend revenues.
The store offered a drawing for 20%-50% off purchases on Small Business Saturday. Five Pound Apparel’s clothing and accessories range from $30 to $150, according to its website. Other items, including socks and stickers, are under $15.
The store also participated in Cyber Monday, though Thomas said online sales aren’t a key part of business, generating 10%-12% of annual sales.
For its first Small Business Saturday promotion, Mother’s Brewing Co. LLC recorded a 10% jump in typical Saturday sales of to-go beer products, said Marketing Manager Anne Mauldin, though she noted downtown also held its 417 Craft Crawl the same day, which added to the increase.
Getting a head start
With a later Thanksgiving holiday this year, several national chains started their Black Friday sales earlier in the week, including stores at the Branson Landing.
Marketing Director Nikki Kinney-Sivils said Rue 21, Journeys, Kirkland’s, Belk, Christopher & Banks and Claire’s started their sales as early as Monday.
“They make more money with large sales for five days than they would for one day,” Kinney-Sivils said.
Overall, the outdoor mall’s busiest day of the week was Black Friday, she said, citing over 30,000 visitors. Kinney-Sivils said the mall records the number through its Wi-Fi network and security camera coverage.
Meghan Chambers, owner of Staxx and Jellybeans in Brentwood Shopping Center, said her stores started promoting holiday sales on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
“We put a lot of emphasis on that entire week that kicks off the holiday shopping,” Chambers said, pointing to the later Thanksgiving holiday. “It translated into retail sales because their minds were wrapped around the idea that Christmas was very shortly following after the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Chambers declined to disclose holiday sales figures but said Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales were 15%-20% higher than last year.
An NRF survey found 56% of respondents already had started their holiday shopping by the first week of November.
“Americans continue to start their holiday shopping earlier in the year, and Thanksgiving is still a critical weekend for millions,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. “With the condensed holiday season, consumers are feeling the pressure to get their shopping done in time.”
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