By  on November 29, 2019

And they’re off.Retailers had a good start to holiday 2019 shopping, lifted by mostly favorable weather conditions, accelerating online and mobile shopping, and widespread early but controlled promotions often offering 25 to 50 percent off. Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch and other retailers have been seeing momentum since late in the third quarter after sluggish business through most of the period.Preliminary signs suggest retailers are on track to meet single-digit gains in the 3 to 4 percent range for the holiday season, but there is a long way to go even with six fewer shopping days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As Macy’s Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Gennette told WWD: “Black Friday is still great, but it doesn’t guarantee a great Christmas.” Macy’s sees the combination of having its stores open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and on Black Friday yielding the company’s biggest shopping period.At the opening of the Herald Square flagship at 5 p.m. Thursday, there was the usual massive stream of shoppers seeking doorbusters and deals. “There was 20 minutes of just continuous customers coming in all the entrances.,” said Gennette, who was on the scene. “There will be thousands more throughout the night. It’s a big night for us.” The most popular categories were coats, cashmere, candy and fragrances.

“I don’t see any dearth of people out there,” said Charlie O’Shea, Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer on Friday afternoon.  “Best Buy, Walmart and Target were packed Thursday night, and Target and Walmart were both packed this morning. It’s been steady. Consumer electronics is really the key for the holiday. It’s the category that really pops. The big players will really do well. Besides the stuff they sell very cheap, they’re selling some better margin products.” Overall, “I don’t see any negative surprises. There were some website outages, but that’s kind of good thing to happen,” since it’s related to heavy online traffic causing the crash. “Nobody can predict volume for sure.”

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