Retailers to See Green on Black Friday

Whether it was named for the day retailers get “into the black,” or a nod to the sea of shoppers, Black Friday remains a day of significant importance to retailers who pull out all the stops to attract shoppers.

It seems that the effort will be worth it this year, with CMOs projecting Black Friday sales to increase by 3.8 percent over 2009, according to our fifth-annual Retail Compass Survey of CMOs. The survey, which examined the opinions of CMOs at leading U.S. retailers, found that they are more bullish this year compared to 2009 when Black Friday sales were projected to rise by just 1.8 percent.

Already, we’ve seen stores build the excitement with early Black Friday-like sales that spread the discounts over a longer period of time, appealing to early shoppers and making it more bearable for consumers on a tight budget. New this year are retailers who aren’t waiting until Friday – several including Sears, Old Navy and K-Mart are opening their doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving.

A Modest Cyber Monday?

Retailers are also expecting a slight uptick in Cyber Monday sales, forecasting a 2.5 percent increase over 2009 sales. Still, most CMOs (74%) say they expect Cyber Monday sales to stay flat for the 2010 holiday season, a continued trend from 2009 (65%) and 2008 (64%).

With some analysts projecting overall online sales this holiday season to increase by as much as 10-15 percent, it seems that the drivers of e-commerce may not be exclusive to Cyber Monday. Shoppers will likely up their online and mobile shopping beyond Cyber Monday, taking advantage of online-only offers as well as free shipping, which has become an industry standard this holiday season. But be sure to keep an eye on your inbox — when asked what online promotional tactic would yield the most sales this holiday season, 45 percent of CMOs pointed to e-mail promotions.

Overall, higher sales expectations for Black Friday and Cyber Monday indicate that online and 5 a.m. door-buster holiday sales are still crucial revenue drivers for the retail industry. But with sales creeping up into the days and weeks before, it’s clear that retailers aren’t placing all their bets on one day of shopping.