Black Friday Sales Are Important Break-Even Point For Many Iowa Merchants

Statewide Iowa — Today’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza, followed by Small Business Saturday, marks a vital kickoff to the holiday shopping season, which a University of Iowa College of Business professor says could be make-or-break time for countless Iowa merchants.

Professor Peggy Stover, who directs the U of I’s Marketing Institute, says some businesses may have a so-so 11 months and they rely on this weekend’s events to kickstart consumers for December to meet their margins and stay afloat.

Not too many years ago, a majority of stores opened on Thanksgiving Day to beat the Black Friday deals, but there was a backlash that returned the holiday’s focus to family, reserving Friday for the shop-til-you-drop enthusiasts. Now, very few retailers are open on Thanksgiving, and even many grocery stores will be closed.

Many factors may impact the shopping season ahead, including high interest rates, inflation, record credit card debt, and the restart of student loan payments. Stover also says there’s a demographic change and a shift in mindsets coming, for which retailers will need to brace.

One regional economist predicts holiday sales may rise three to four percent, but when inflation is factored in, retailers may only see a boost of between zero and one-percent compared to last year.



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