US online sales surge as shoppers splurge on eve of Black Friday

The National Retail Federation is projecting that sales for November and December will rise 3.6 percent to 4 percent this year, versus a 4 percent increase last year. (Reuters)
Updated 24 November 2017
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US online sales surge as shoppers splurge on eve of Black Friday

NEW JERSEY: US shoppers had splurged more than $1.52 billion (SR5.7 billion) online by Thanksgiving evening, and more bargain hunters turned up at stores this year after two weak holiday seasons as retailers opened their doors early on the eve of Black Friday.
At the start of the holiday season consumer spending rose 16.8 percent year-over-year until 5pm ET on Thursday, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracked 80 percent of online transactions at the top 100 US retailers.
Surging online sales and a shift away from store shopping have thinned the crowds typically seen at stores on Thanksgiving evening and the day after, Black Friday, for the past two years. But a strong labor market, rising home prices and stock markets at record highs have improved shopper appetite this year.
Crowds at stores in many locations around the country were reported to be strong, according to analysts and retail consultants monitoring shopper traffic across the US
“The turnout is clearly better than the last couple of years,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners. “The parking lots are full and the outlet malls are busy.”
The retail consultancy has 20 members studying customer traffic in different parts of the country.
Moody’s retail analyst Charlie O’ Shea, who was in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, reported healthy traffic at local stores including consumer electronics chain Best Buy, clothing store Old Navy and retailer Kohl’s Corp.
“The weather is cooperating and people here are out,” he said.
The National Retail Federation is projecting that sales for November and December will rise 3.6 percent to 4 percent this year, versus a 4 percent increase last year. Non-store sales, which include online sales and those from kiosks, are expected to rise 11 percent-15 percent to about $140 billion.
In New Jersey, around 50 people lined up a Macy’s at the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall before it opened and around 200 people stood outside the Best Buy store, many to pick up their online orders.
“Me and my husband have a bigger place and we need a bigger TV for the living room,” said Jenipher Gomes, who bought a 50-inch Samsung TV at Best Buy for $399.99. Shopper Hammad Farooq said he waited at the store for an hour to shop for laptops and monitors.
In Chicago, shoppers appeared to be slightly less enthusiastic to emerge from their turkey slumber and crowds were thin along the city’s popular shopping destination, State Street.
“There’s a few more people than normal but I wouldn’t call this crowded at all,” Deloitte auditor Eugenia Liew said as she shopped at discount retailer Target. “I expected a lot more people.”
The holiday season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales. Retailers try to attract shoppers with deep discounts.
Average discounts ranged between 10 and 16 percent with the best deals online on Thanksgiving evening available for computers, sporting goods, apparel and video games, according to date from Adobe.
The number of customers shopping on their smartphones surged, accounting for 46 percent of the traffic on retail websites, while traffic from desktop and laptop computers declined 11 percent and nearly 6 percent respectively, according to the data.


New joint venture to draw in foreign investors to Bahrain

Updated 4 min 3 sec ago
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New joint venture to draw in foreign investors to Bahrain

Kooheji Golden Gate has partnered with Indian property developers Ajmera Mayfair to form a joint venture called Golden Gate Developers, promising a blend of state-of-the-art living, modern hospitality and world-class business centers. 

Ajmera Mayfair Realty Group have a combined experience of over 100 years in the real estate industry, delivering a total of 40 million square feet of commercial and residential spaces in India and currently having prospects worth more than $4 billion underway. The project is to be developed on Bahrain Bay, which is a hub of prime property in Manama with a beautiful view of the city skyline.

Manoj Ajmera, managing director of Ajmera, said: “Bahrain provides a supportive business environment and a workforce with a strong service ethos, and this project has strengthened our ties with the nation as well as the people of Bahrain.”

Nayan Shah, chairman of Mayfair Housing, said: “According to the Expat Insider Survey findings, Bahrain is now considered the best destination for expats, which broadens the scope for them to consider moving to Bahrain. This is especially an important factor in attracting foreign investment, and trade and business opportunities. It also increases the potential for tourism in the region, as many Indians now consider Bahrain an ideal destination for weddings and holidays.” 

Chairman of Kooheji Golden Gate Ishaq Al-Kooheji said: “Under the leadership and visionary guidance of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the crown prince, deputy supreme commander and first deputy prime minister, Vision 2030 promises further transformation to Bahrain and its economy. The establishment of such projects in partnership with internationally renowned companies creates an attractive environment for local and international investments, strengthening ties between both countries while contributing to the economic progression of Bahrain.” 

The project will be developed over 140,000 square meters. The total anticipated foreign investment in Bahrain is around $212 million. This partnership aims at further cementing bilateral trade and economic ties between India and Bahrain and opens up the doors to more foreign investment into the country.