Retailers have very high expectations for Black Friday. Will buyers show up? | The week ahead, BoF Professional

A Black Friday banner?

  • Retailers Expect Strong Sales This Holiday Season As Economy Bounces From Pandemic

  • Some consumers have started shopping early, amid warnings that grunts from the supply chain could delay holiday shipments

  • Prices are rising, especially for basic necessities such as gasoline, although so far this has not deterred spending on consumer goods

The pandemic has made people almost nostalgic for the Black Fridays of yesteryear, when families gathered around the fireplace to watch viral footage of shoppers stomping around for the latest heavily discounted flat-screen TV. Shopping malls, department stores and big box stores are reporting increased foot traffic and forecasting record spending over the Thanksgiving long weekend. The economy is booming, and after missing family reunions last year, Christmas-themed “revenge shopping” is undoubtedly at play. Rising inflation and global shipping problems mean shoppers also have to shell out more to buy the same amount of product: Salesforce found that online retailers offered 16% less discounts and 12% higher prices on average. Shoppers are also starting to spend earlier than before: Respondents to a National Retail Federation survey said they completed 28% of their holiday shopping in early November, up from 18% a decade ago. But despite dire warnings about shipping delays, shortages, and fewer promotions this year, there has been no mass movement away from the last-minute search for the perfect gift.

The bottom line: More than usual, this holiday season will determine how retailers operate into the new year. Strong sales would indicate a longer period of tight inventory and higher profit margins. A disappointing season could return the industry to its pre-pandemic pre-pandemic year-round rebate habit.

Take away food

  • Gap Inc., American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch Release Quarterly Results This Week

  • All three brands have made drastic changes to their businesses over the past few years, with varying degrees of success.

  • Abercrombie is most advanced in reclaiming its 2000s glory, as detailed in the recent BoF case study

Some of America’s biggest shopping mall brands are posting profits this week, just ahead of a holiday season that could have a big impact on their futures. The company with the most to prove is Gap Inc., coming out of a strong run where sales of its flagship brand increased and the first Yeezy products were released. Still, questions remain, especially about the state of Banana Republic, where brand director Ana Andjelic left months after presenting her vision for the relaunch of the brand. American Eagle is on a stronger footing as its Aerie lingerie brand continues to grow and its core brand resonates with consumers as well. A pair of recent logistics acquisitions will help solidify the bottom line, as e-commerce plays a bigger role.

Still, the executives of these two companies would probably like to work at Abercrombie & Fitch right now. The brand made a turnaround that ditched its problematic vibe of the early 2000s and reversed years of declining sales. The brand now has a reputation for selling stylish, quality clothing, which allows it to charge higher prices than many of its mall neighbors. Stocks are near an eight-year high.

The bottom line: Success for these companies means adapting what’s good in their brands to new challenges, whether it’s a high-level collaboration, a new category, or a top-down redesign.

An unusual marketing opportunity

  • House of Gucci hits theaters in US and UK this week

  • The Kering-owned brand had little public involvement with the film

  • Lady Gaga’s stylish trailer and press appearances nonetheless drew attention to the film and the Gucci brand.

For many brands, a high-profile movie starring Lady Gaga would be a godsend. For a luxury mega-brand like Gucci, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. House of Gucci sums up a dark chapter in the brand’s history, an intra-family struggle for control of the company that ended in murder. It will all be read as an old and very elegant story to most fans of the brand today. The family’s involvement in the brand that bears his name ended in the early 90s; today, it’s owned by Kering, a low-key luxury conglomerate (compared to the ’80s Gucci clan, at least).

Kering has not been very committed to the film publicly, although the inclusion in the cast of Jared Leto, a muse of Alessandro Michele, and Salma Hayek, wife of Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault, be perhaps a tacit sign of approval. Still, luxury brands prefer their moments in the limelight to be carefully staged, and the label is currently focused on promoting its “hacker project” with Balenciaga, which hits stores around the same time of the year. movie release.

The bottom line: Kering seems to be more comfortable with the promotional value of House of Gucci, as the buzz has grown (although the fashion has been praised, early gossip about the merits of the film itself was more mixed). In recent weeks, the brand has also dressed its stars for a series of premieres across the world. The timing could work for Gucci, which is set to boost growth in a critical fourth quarter for the brand.

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