"Black Friday" looks bleak for Fifth Avenue and beyond
The holiday window display at Barneys New York has a hippie vibe, hoping shoppers will show some love this season. (Getty)
By Danielle Sonnenberg
Special to amNewYork
Attention city shoppers: There are unheard of bargains to be found this holiday season, even at super-luxe Fifth Avenue retailers.
The sales came sooner this year, weeks before Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving which is the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. Retailers depend on the holidays for a large piece of their yearly earnings up to 40 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. This year, however, customers are having a harder time parting with their money than theyve had in decades.
Retailers are going to do whatever they can to get customers to spend money in their store, said Rebecca Flach, director of public affairs at the Retail Council of New York State.The retail climate is frigid, with some analysts predicting holiday sales to decrease from last year.
Still, other analysts are a little less bleak and are forecasting an anemic 1 percent to 2 percent rise in holiday sales.
A recent stroll through some of Manhattans luxury department stores revealed a retail landscape barren of shoppers and pockmarked by sale signs.
At Saks Fifth Avenue, where the company has predicted a tough holiday season, the store has resorted to discounts that are sure to hurt its bottom line. Prices for Dolce & Gabbana were 40 percent off weeks before Black Friday.
Meanwhile, a saleswoman at Bloomingdales said that this is the first time prices on Burberry products have been cut before Christmas.
Also, earlier this month, Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman were trying to generate customers with one- and five-day sales.
I recently went to Macys Herald Square to find clothing for job interviews, and found racks of clothing on sale, some of which were marked 75 percent off, said Ailene Morgan, 37, of Manhattan.
Small businesses are also getting creative to attract holiday shoppers.
The owners of New London Pharmacy in Chelsea are offering free services from foot massages to mini-facials.
Sometimes nothing makes you feel better than a makeover and a glass of wine, said New London co-owner Abby Fazio.
With all the holiday discounts, Flach has only this advice for shoppers who still have income to spend: If there is a must have on their list, they should pick it because it may not be there after Christmas.