Chicago — Black Friday will be the single biggest sales and foot traffic day of this holiday season, followed by Saturday, Dec. 22, according to ShopperTrak, the world’s largest counter and analyzer of retail foot traffic. With the greatest possible number of shopping days — 32 — lying between Black Friday and Christmas this year, ShopperTrak predicts that national retail sales will rise 3.3% (over last year) during the peak holiday shopping months of November and December; retail foot traffic will increase 2.8%.
“Those 32 days provide extra time for consumers to shop more frequently and to visit more stores during the holidays,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “But retailers must prepare to capitalize on the holiday opportunity while managing the increase in operating costs that go hand-in-hand with extended store hours on more shopping days.
The following are ShopperTrak’s forecasted busiest holiday sales days:
Central to this year’s increased retail foot traffic and sales are the two extra weekends in the holiday season that result from Christmas falling on a Tuesday. One “extra” weekend will occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas; the second will fall between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Weekends are vital to retailing, as seven of the Top 10 retail traffic days and six of the Top 10 sales days will fall on the six weekends between Nov. 23 (Black Friday) and Dec. 31.
“This unusually long season presents retailers with opportunities and challenges. They’ll have a golden opportunity to convert more browsers into buyers, but they’ll have to prepare to manage increased operating costs,” Martin said. “Retailers will need to optimize staffing, scheduling, marketing and advertising with the calendar and individual store trends in mind.”