On Retail and the Holiday Experience
Retail had its best Black Friday since 2007, with sales reaching a record $11.4 billion, according to ShopperTrack. The 8.3% spike in year-over-year sales was the largest jump since before the recession. This is even as Cyber Monday continues to pick up steam, accounting for more than $1 billion in sales this year according to IBM’s Coremetrics.
As I walked up Fifth Avenue this weekend, I thought about those numbers—and about what they mean for retailers and retail developers preparing for the start of ICSC. I love coming to New York during the holidays, and I look forward to it every year. Walking by all of the iconic, flagship stores with their elaborate window displays, it struck me that the experience and tradition of in-person holiday shopping just can’t be replicated online. Sure, I could go online and buy anything I saw in any of those storefront windows, but I can’t smell the chestnuts from the street vendor or the fragrances coming out of the stores or the sounds of the hustle and bustle of the holidays…
At The Peterson Cos.' retail properties, customers come to our centers for the shopping, of course, but they also come for the experience—to hear the local school choir and strolling Dickens Carolers, to take a horse and carriage ride, or, yes, even to see Santa waterskiing on the Potomac.
Those experiences are special. And they’re the opportunity for our bricks and mortar merchants to connect with their customers in a way that clicking a button can never provide … and, for them to continue to play a key role in the tradition of holiday shopping.