Macy’s CEO Says Black Friday Crowd Size Bigger Than Last Year

'We are really encouraged by the traffic' he said, 'we think it's going to be a great Black Friday'
By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
November 26, 2021 Updated: November 26, 2021

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC on the morning of Nov. 26 that Black Friday shopper traffic was up compared to the same point last year, adding that he expects a great day in sales terms as the busy holiday shopping season gets underway.

Gennette told the outlet that Macy’s saw “a big rush” in online sales on Thanksgiving day and that, after opening doors at 6 a.m. across the country, “the crowd size, when you look at it versus 2020, it’s up—and that’s very strong.”

“The first hour of business was quite strong,” Gennette said, adding that “we are really encouraged by the traffic that we are seeing and we think it’s going to be a great Black Friday.”

Expectations are for a strong holiday shopping season this year, with the National Retail Federation (NRF) recently estimating that U.S. shoppers will spend between $843.4 billion and $859 billion during November and December, or between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent more than in 2020.

“There is considerable momentum heading into the holiday shopping season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement in late October. “Consumers are in a very favorable position going into the last few months of the year as income is rising and household balance sheets have never been stronger.”

The NRF predictions dovetail with a Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending forecast from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which said in a recent report (pdf) that a net 18 percent of Americans plan to spend more during those two days in 2021 compared to 2020.

And a recent report from Deloitte (pdf) found that 73 percent of retail executives expect shoppers to spend more, or significantly more this holiday shopping season compared to last year’s.

With inflation running at a three-decade high and picking up its pace between September and October, there have been concerns that accelerating prices could prompt Americans to slow on spending. But while 11.5 percent of respondents to the Deloitte survey said they don’t plan to spend anything this holiday shopping season—the highest percentage for this category since the company began tracking consumers’ holiday habits—overall spending is expected to increase by 5 percent year-over-year. The company also said that 39 percent of consumers said they plan to spend more this year compared to 20 percent last year.

At least for now, inflationary woes haven’t led to a spending squeeze, with a Nov. 24 Commerce Department report showing that consumer spending, which accounts for around two-thirds of U.S. economic output, jumped 1.3 percent in October after rising 0.6 percent in September.

Still, with consumer confidence dropping to a decade low and the holiday shopping season barely underway, it will be some time before it’s clear whether retailers will see a windfall this year.

Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'