Macy's offers bigger discounts to attract shoppers, trying to compete with online retailers. Fred Katayama reports.
Some shoppers flocked to Macy's flagship store in New York to hunt for bargains on Black Friday, the day that marks the start of the holiday shopping season. John Holder came all the way from Baltimore, Maryland. (SOUNDBITE) JOHN HOLDER, BALTIMORE RESIDENT, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You go to the Macy's Parade yesterday, which we attended, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, you come here and shop. And everybody is happy." But the popularity of Black Friday has been waning over the past couple of years. That's because more stores open earlier - some even on Thanksgiving - and online retailers offer Black Friday-type deals year-round. Macy's is fighting back with exclusive offers. CEO Terry Lundgren explains. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MACY'S CEO, TERRY J. LUNDGREN, SAYING: "In order to get people to come back, we had fantastic value in places like the fragrance area. So, we're one of the largest sellers of prestige fragrance anywhere in the world. But we also added a sample kit of $15 to try six different fragrances. That's been a home run for us. We've brought in more plush toys. So, we did a collaboration with a new movie called 'Trolls.' And, so, all this is exclusive to us of what some of the products that we've sold. It's really doing great." But many shoppers might be too worried about the future to open up their wallets. Retail analyst Mary Epner: (SOUNDBITE) MARY EPNER, CEO, MARY EPNER RETAIL ANALYSIS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think when you have twenty million Americans who aren't sure about what's happening with health care, maybe not all of them feel that way. But when you're concerned then, you're not as likely to spend a lot of money. Ditto for other groups who have the same concerns, whether it's about somebody's family deportation or whatever the cause might be." The holiday season spanning November and December can account for as much as forty percent of annual retail sales. The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to grow 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion. Another forecasting company, Adobe, says Black Friday will record more than $3 billion in online revenue, with about one-third of that coming from mobile shopping.