Black Friday 2017: Sneakers and Shoppers

Black Friday 2017: Sneakers and Shoppers

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So the Gray Zebra Yeezy Boosts he was there to buy would never grace Mr. Lindsey’s feet. Instead, he had sold the pair in advance to a woman who had driven by earlier in a Mercedes, offering him $550 dollars for a pair that would cost him $320.

“She had her son on FaceTime,” Mr. Lindsey recalled. “She’s like, ‘His birthday is tomorrow, and he wants the shoes.’ They’re sold. Baby boy’s birthday. They’re sold.”

Though patrons would be limited to buying just one pair each — with some pairs marked down to just a dollar, only one of the first 15 people in line at Cool Kicks was planning on keeping his purchase. The rest — mostly teenagers, and all male but one — would be immediately relisting their new rare sneakers on the secondary market, where some pairs fetch more than $1,000. — LOUIS KEENE

Not a good day for ‘Our Website Is Down.’

Friday is on track to become perhaps the busiest day in history for online shopping, according to salesforce.com, which makes it a spectacularly bad time for a retailer’s website to go on the fritz.

But as shoppers pour into e-commerce, pushing online revenue on Thanksgiving to what Adobe’s digital marketing research arm described as a record of $2.87 billion, many companies are struggling to accommodate the surge in traffic.

Many customers trying to access the online Black Friday deals offered by Lowe’s — up to 40 percent off certain appliances, half-priced power tools and more — instead encountered glitches that caused the site to fail mid-purchase or struggle to load at all.

A spokeswoman for the home improvement chain said the increase in site visits was “causing some intermittent outages” and said that the company was “working diligently” to restore full functionality.

Last year, both Macy’s and Express had to soothe Black Friday customers enraged by technical difficulties with the brands’ websites.

The global reach of e-commerce has inspired many international companies to participate in the post-Thanksgiving shopping event. Several of them also experienced website crashes on Friday.

Takealot.com, a general goods e-commerce retailer based in South Africa, apologized to shoppers for site-wide problems, saying in a Twitter post that “ a fundamental service within our platform has failed.”

Hudson’s Bay, a Canadian department store chain, spent much of the morning on Twitter responding to customer complaints of website problems. — TIFFANY HSU

What crowds? Empty stretches in Dallas.

In a clear sign that online sales and Thanksgiving Day openings have taken a bite out of Black Friday, many Dallas stores had no morning crowds at all. Numerous retailers on the city’s busy Highway 75 opened early only to find 10, five or even just one customer waiting outside.

Luiza Behs, 15, of Tulsa, Okla., went to the Apple Store an hour before it opened to beat the line, but there was no line. She, her mother, her friend and one other customer were the only people waiting.

“There’s no lines so that’s good for me,” Ms. Behs said with a smile.

Trina, a 46-year-old Dallas woman who did not want to give her last name, went to Target with her son before it opened and found no one there.

“We laughed about it because we said, ‘We could just wait in the car,’” she said, waiting for the door to be unlocked.

Perhaps people were just sleeping later this year. Rather than rise hours before dawn, Americans on average slept in longer on Friday than they did a week earlier, according to data from the Sleep Cycle snooze-tracking app. And when they eventually woke up, residents of most states were in a better mood than when they got out of bed last Friday.

Ryan Marlar, 26, of Garland, was the only person sitting outside Dick’s Sporting Goods waiting for the store to open at 5 a.m. With plans to buy ammunition on sale, Mr. Marlar sat on the tailgate of his truck and said he expected to see at least a few other people waiting to get in.

“It’s my favorite holiday of the year. You know exactly what you want,” he said. “I’m only saving like 10 bucks, but it’s the spirit of the thing. I always go and do it.” — PATRICK MCGEE

Crowds were fenced in outside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on Friday, waiting to spend.

Credit
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Checking out products at Walmart in Valley Stream, N.Y.

Credit
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The Wirecutter will help you navigate the day.

Our colleagues over at Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews products, have a running list of Black Friday deals on everything from trash cans to cameras to artificial Christmas trees.

The best part is you don’t have to get out of your chair to chase them down.

There are suggestions at every price point, so it’s a good resource if you’re buying for a gift exchange at work or a loved one. After all, somebody in your life must need a kayak.

Wallace Cardoso wrangled a big new TV at B.J.’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass.

Credit
Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

What Brings You Out?

We asked shoppers around the country what drew them to stores over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

NAME: John Kaikis Jr.

AGE: 58

LOCATION: Louisville, Ky.

WHY DO YOU COME TO A STORE INSTEAD OF SHOPPING ONLINE?

“We like to look at things and hold them in our hands. That way we know exactly what we’re buying.”

DO YOU COME FOR PRACTICAL REASONS, OR FOR THE EXPERIENCE?

“We just kind of do it to have fun. Because I was way hung over this morning, and I sure didn’t need to be up this early. But it’s fun. It’s a tradition we’ve been doing now for 14 years. And afterwards, we’ll go out for mimosas, so that’s a bonus.”

WHAT’S THE PRODUCT YOU’LL RUN TO FIRST?

TV and laptop.

SARAH KELLEY

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