A week before Black Friday and the sales promotions just keep on rolling into the e-mail inboxes.
Garnet Hill on Thursday began offering “The Garnet Hill Gift Sale.” It’s the event where shoppers can begin saving 25 percent off on their orders plus free shipping now the Tuesday after Cyber Monday. Certain exclusions apply, but typically for items already on sale or because a brand — such as Chan Luu, Eileen Fisher, Hanro, The North Face and Ugg — has opted out of the site-wide promotion.
Foxcroft is offering a free 100 percent acrylic ruana — which it says has a value of $128 — on orders of $175 or more. E-tailer e-Bags.com is offering 25 percent off, plus 20 percent back in reward points, and shoppers can take a look at its “Extreme Black Friday” preview of deals up to 85 percent off original listing prices. Mark and Graham is doing some prospecting for new customers, offering anyone shopping the site for the first time a special code for 15 percent off the entire order.
An e-mail from Michael Kors has the tag line “A Sale You’ll Thank Us For: Extra 25% Off.” The additional discount is for already-reduced styles. Among some of the items the Kors site is pitching: Haley large leather satchel, now $168 from the original listed price of $448; Nini pavé silver-tone watch, $162.50 from $325; nylon puffer jacket, $154.88 from $295; military wool peacoat, $267.75 from $595; Angela small French calf-leather top-handle bag, $973 from $1,390 and the larger version of the Angela French calf-leather top-handle bag, $1,183 from $1,690. While there were some apparel and footwear offerings, the majority of the sale items were handbags and small leather goods and accessories.
Late in the afternoon Lands’ End sent out an e-mail for a nine-hour flash sale ending at midnight that gives buyers 50 percent off all outerwear. Earlier in the day, the company sent an e-mail giving shoppers 40 percent off plus free shipping when they spend $50 or more. The sale — dubbed “Share the Warmth” — ends Sunday.
The general consensus is the companies have reduced inventories so they are going into the holiday season fairly lean. Fitch’s senior director for corporate finance, retail, David J. Silverman said the reduction in inventory buys, particularly in categories such as apparel, “will limit the need for margin-destructive markdowns to clear excess product.”
At a presentation Thursday hosted by Instinet, equity analyst Simeon Siegel said cleaner inventories should provide limited margin erosion in theory, but cautioned “clean inventory is only clean until you can’t sell them. Then they become excess inventory.”
Siegel said most of the promotions going on are likely planned promotions, meaning that the smart retailers have been buying goods specific to the promotions. But he cautioned that while it’s easier for retailers to buy for the promotions, it isn’t so easy to buy at the price needed to ensure targeted margins are met.
For now at least it seems that in the U.S., consumers might be ready to turn their attention back to the business of holiday shopping.
A study by HookLogic showed that e-commerce dropped year-over-year 5 percent the day before the Nov. 8 presidential election. The declines dropped further to 16 percent the day of the election, and plummeted 23 percent the day after. But by Thursday, two days after the election, digital online shopping was back up 24 percent. While desktop shopping stayed flat, access to commerce sites on mobile phones rose 3 points over 2015, ahead of tablets, which fell 3 points year-over-year.