By ALLIE LEWIS It wasn't the same experience shoppers came accustomed to ahead of the pandemic, but after a year of mostly staying home and distancing from friends and loved ones, Black Friday sales were warmly welcomed. Even if it was a bit of a later
It wasn’t the same experience shoppers came accustomed to ahead of the pandemic, but after a year of mostly staying home and distancing from friends and loved ones, Black Friday sales were warmly welcomed. Even if it was a bit of a later start time for most.
This year, shoppers weren’t showing up to line the doors before midnight.
In Warwick, while a small handful of larger retail stores like JCPenny and Old Navy opened up at 5 a.m., the Warwick Mall didn’t officially open its doors until 7 a.m.
According to Warwick Mall Marketing Director Linda Campbell, “ Black Friday was the heaviest traffic the mall has seen in two years.”
General Manager Domenic Schiavone, who has served in the role for the past 12 years, said that by 11 a.m., the Warwick Mall was the busiest he’s ever seen it on a Black Friday.
Obviously there were dramatically more people this year compared to Black Friday of 2020, but despite stores getting a later start this year, there was still a considerable amount of traffic.
Rather than comparing their volumes and sales to last year’s Black Friday event, which looked much different at the height of the pandemic, most retailers were looking back on 2019 numbers, according to Schiavone.
“Many of them beat the volume of 2019, which is pretty impressive, if you think about it,” Schiavone said. “In 2019 they were opening at midnight, and doing it until 9 or 10 p.m. on Friday, and this year they only have from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.”
While the crowds thinned out a bit around dinner time on Black Friday, Warwick Mall remained busy up until closing time.
“It definitely was a good sign,” Schiavone said.
The Warwick Mall also saw a decent crowd of shoppers on Saturday, though not nearly as many as the day before. The number of shoppers seen on Sunday dipped down even further, which wasn’t too much of a surprise since most people are “tuckered out from Thanksgiving” by that point. For most retailers, Sunday tends to be the least trafficked day of the holiday.
Schiavone attributes some of the record traffic to the ongoing supply chain issues, and fears that online shopping won’t deliver presents in time for the holidays.
“I think a lot of people are linking the idea of going, getting it, having it in their hands and not having to worry about whether it’s going to ship in time,” he said.
Another contributing factor might be the huge social element that comes with Black Friday shopping, which many likely went without last year.
“I think a lot of people are optimistic,” he said. “They want to get back to normal, have some sort of a normal holiday.”
One of the many things that comes along with returning to normal is pictures with Santa, which the Warwick Mall will be offering every day, up until Christmas Eve. Down the road, at Garden City, there will also be plenty of face-time opportunities with Santa over the next month, though reservations are strongly required.
The open-air shopping center also saw it’s fair share of traffic Black Friday, though the rain and cool temperatures may have been a bit of a deterrent to some holiday bargain hunters. Thankfully, the weather improved over the weeked, and didn’t put a damper on any of the festive events with Santa.
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