Attention has shifted from discounters like Walmart and Target on Thanksgiving Day to malls on Black Friday, where traffic has been on the decline amid the increasing popularity of online shopping. Many mall executives nonetheless say they are pleased with Friday’s turnout.
Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of CBL Properties, which owns and manages more than 100 malls nationwide, says the crowds have been building all day and are similar to a year ago. He also believes that a shortened season — with six fewer shopping days than last year — won't impact sales.
Steve Yalof, CEO of Simon Property Group's Premium Outlets says customer traffic at the outlets on the East Coast was up on Black Friday compared with a year ago. Many of the outlet stores in Woodbury, New York are discounting designer merchandise by 50%, on top of discounts of 35% to 65%.
With a shorter season, shoppers came out for sales earlier in the week, Yalof noted.