Survey forecasts early holiday shopping and uptick in 2014 store openings

North Plainfield, N.J. -- Forty-three percent of respondents to Levin Management’s annual pre-holiday retail sentiment survey believe that their holiday sales will peak prior to and during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend sales period. In other notable results, 43.6% of respondents’ companies plan to open new stores in 2014 – a significant jump from 23% in last year’s pre-holiday poll and 35.9% the previous year.

“The percentage of respondents with expansion plans is very good news,” said Matthew K. Harding, president, Levin Management.

During October, the North Plainfield-based retail real estate services firm polled store managers within its 90-property, 12.5 million-sq.-ft. shopping center portfolio on this and other topics related to the upcoming holiday season, e-commerce, year-to-date sales and more.

“It appears that last year’s Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend performance has retailers bullish about this year’s early shopping potential,” said Harding. “Interestingly, the percentage of respondents who believe that sales will peak later – during the weekend before Christmas – dropped significantly year over year, from 29.2% In our 2012 pre-holiday survey to 13.5% in our latest poll.”

Other findings of the survey include:

  • More than three-quarters (77.5%) of respondents overall indicated that they will be bringing in as much as or more inventory than last year. In the 2012 pre-holiday survey, a smaller 68.0% planned to increase their holiday season stock compared to 2011. A larger 85.7% of respondents in the clothing/shoes/accessories segment – a traditional holiday shopping category – indicated that they will be bringing in as much as or more inventory than last season.
  • Retailers’ embrace of social media for technology-based marketing continues to gain ground. Nearly all (97.8%) of the Levin Management survey respondents have a presence on Facebook (up from 81.5% last year). Twitter remains the second most popular, used by 48.9% of respondents (up from 26.2% one year ago).

“While Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate the social media space, Instagram may be the next big social platform for retail marketing, according to Harding.

“The number of survey respondents using the popular photo- and video-sharing site jumped from just over 3.1% last year to an impressive 26.1% today,” he said.

Levin Management is one of the nation's leading retail real estate services firms, with a strong focus in the northeastern United States.

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