By Ben Stansell and Carl Blankenship
SALISBURY — As companies and prospects ready for one of many greatest weekends of the vacation buying season, Downtown Salisbury Inc. Director Latoya Value mentioned the weekend could be bustling for native shops.
“I feel it’s going to be a busy day and a busy night, although we do have COVID,” Value mentioned about Black Friday. “From a security standpoint, all of our outlets have put security measures in place in order that they solely permit a sure variety of folks and are requesting folks to put on a masks. I feel it’s going to be an excellent day.”
Oxford + Lee retailer supervisor Hayley Morgan anticipated a busy Black Friday and mentioned that she believes folks shall be “buying small extra” this Vacation season.
Barnhardt Jewelers had about 50 folks in line by 8 a.m. on Friday. Josh Barnhardt mentioned. Till about 10 a.m., the store’s new location was packed; folks saved coming by means of the day, too. The brand new retailer opened on Monday and has 1,500 ft of floorspace in comparison with the outdated Spencer location’s 600 ft. Barnhardt mentioned the additional house helped the shop hold folks social distanced and take a look at extra folks directly. A field of masks was on the door.
Going into Friday, Barnhardt was involved the turnout could be gentle, but it surely surpassed expectations
“We didn’t plan to maneuver throughout a worldwide pandemic,” Barnhardt mentioned. “However actually our enterprise has performed higher than we’d have anticipated this primary week.”
Linda Hunter mentioned she was not doing a lot buying on Friday however she wished to go to the brand new location.
“I really like the brand new store,” Hunter mentioned. “I appreciated it in Spencer as a result of it was shut, however that is fantastic.”
Hunter mentioned she often does some buying on Black Friday, although she wished to keep away from crowds this 12 months due to COVID-19.
“I simply hope that everyone stays secure throughout this season,” Hunter mentioned.
Value mentioned that, whereas she didn’t count on as many individuals to buy on Black Friday and in the course of the weekend general this 12 months as in comparison with 2019, she anticipated retailer homeowners to obtain a bump in exercise. A ballot performed by Excessive Level College echoed Value’s prediction that there would doubtless be fewer North Carolinians buying on Black Friday this 12 months.
The ballot discovered that 31% of residents within the Tar Heel state deliberate to buy the day after Thanksgiving. That quantity was down from the 2019 ballot by the identical group, when 38% of individuals mentioned they have been planning to buy on Black Friday. Simply over half of individuals polled this 12 months say they won’t be buying on Black Friday this 12 months and 15% of individuals have been not sure.
The identical ballot discovered that solely 13% of North Carolinians plan to do most of their buying at brick-and-mortar shops. In the meantime, 44% plan to do most of their buying on-line and a further 30% of respondents say they’ll do each equally.
Fewer folks keen to buy on Black Friday could possibly be a sign of lingering fears over dangers related to COVID-19. Virtually two out of 5 (39%) individuals who responded to the ballot mentioned their views of COVID-19 affected their vacation buying this 12 months rather a lot. About one-third (35%) say that COVID-19 has affected their views a bit bit, and solely 21% say in no way.
The coronavirus pandemic may additionally trigger folks to spend much less on vacation buying. The ballot discovered that the identical proportion of North Carolinians say they’ll spend much less (38%) or about the identical amount of cash (39%) on the vacations this 12 months in comparison with final 12 months.
“Many of the North Carolinians we surveyed will spend the identical or lower than final 12 months on the vacations,” Brian McDonald, affiliate director of the HPU Ballot and adjunct professor, mentioned in a information launch. “And a majority of ballot respondents advised us that COVID-19 has affected their vacation buying this 12 months in some regard.”
The National Retail Federation predicts a rosier image of vacation buying and expects vacation gross sales will develop between 3.6% and 5.2% over 2019 to a complete between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion.
The NRP expects most of that development to return from on-line and different non-store gross sales, that are included within the complete, will improve between 20 and 30% to between $202.5 billion and $218.4 billion, up from $168.7 billion final 12 months.
That prediction bodes nicely for Cyber Monday, when retailers supply offers to internet buyers.
Value mentioned that she expects Rowan Countians to help native companies, whether or not it’s in-person or on-line.
“Regardless that it’s going to look a bit totally different this 12 months, the help of the neighborhood may be very integral and necessary right now and is a chance for the neighborhood, folks outdoors of our neighborhood, to reinvest in our downtown,” Value mentioned.
Downtown Salisbury Inc. created a 2020 Downtown Holiday Guide as a useful resource for people who find themselves fascinated by buying and consuming downtown in the course of the festive season.