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Who Stands to Benefit on Black Friday?

Black Friday sales are expected to jump Thanksgiving Week as shoppers begin checking off items on their lists, with apparel and luxury expected to be the top choices as consumers seek out holiday doorbuster deals.

But with supply chain constraints still unresolved, shoppers may be disappointed by limited deals. Holiday 2021 will see a big return of shoppers to physical stores when compared with last year’s Covid-19 outbreak, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse’s latest holiday update. And many big-box retailers, department stores and outlet malls are closed on Thanksgiving Day—paving the way for robust in-store shopping for Black Friday through the full weekend.

“Holiday lights are shining bright for retailers this year,” said Steve Sadove, former CEO and chairman of Saks Inc. and a senior advisor for Mastercard, who SpendingPulse measures national retail sales transactions across all payment types in select markets using the Mastercard payments network. “The consumer is strong and spending. With discounts in short supply, product innovation, availability and sustainability will be deciding factors for consumers eager to cross off their holiday shopping lists.”

Mastercard data anticipates 10.0 percent year-over-year seasonal growth and 12.2 percent over 2019. E-commerce sales are seen rising 7.1 percent year-over-year and could skyrocket 50.2 percent on a two-year basis for the week of Nov. 22-28. “With supply chain challenges straining product availability, elevated inflation and consumers creating unprecedented demand for goods, this holiday season is shaping up to be a seller’s market for retailers,” Mastercard said, adding that the holiday season kicked off in October as early promotions drove customers online and in stores. October U.S. retail sales, excluding automobile and gas sales, gained 6.1 percent year-over-year, and rose 12.9 percent from October 2019. E-commerce sales in October grew 13.2 percent year-over-year and 76.7 percent on a two-year stacked basis.

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The National Retail Federation expects the holiday season’s retail sales growth could range from 8.5 percent to 10.5 percent for the November-December period. That would translate to a projected haul ranging from $843.4 billion to $859 billion, excluding automobile, gas and restaurant sales, the retail industry trade group said. Last year’s underperformers, apparel and home furnishings, are tracking favorably this year early in the season, it added.

Deal hunters are expected to target two key areas: luxury sales, excluding jewelry, are expected to jump 92.3 percent from year-ago levels, and a 17.0 percent gain over 2019, while apparel is expected to see sales up 56.0 percent from last year, and a gain of 21.9 percent from 2019. Jewelry sales are expected to rise 39.7 percent from a year ago, or flat when compared with 2019 levels, as electronics could gain 29.6 percent from 2021 and up 17.5 percent from 2019’s sales figures.

This is good news for brick-and-mortar retailers after Covid-19 restrictions suppressed sales last year. Mastercard expects Black Friday sales to top 20 percent, excluding automobile and gas sales, as doorbusters are expected to entice consumers back to stores. The big winner could be the department store sector, which is expected to see sales growth of 40.2 percent from a year ago, and up 7.6 percent from 2019.

Not wanting to be left out of the holiday party, both Target and Amazon unveiled their Black Friday deals on Monday.

“We began offering holiday deals in October for those looking to shop early and we’re continuing to deliver big savings all season long, including Black Friday week,” said Christina Hennington, Target’s executive vice president and chief growth officer. By “making even more of our Black Friday deals available via our same-day services, we’re making it easier than ever for guests to shop everything on their terms,” she added.

Target’s Black Friday deals run Nov. 21-27 with 30 percent off on sleepwear, outerwear and cold weather accessories for men, women and children, 50 percent off boots for all ages, and up to 50 percent off on select furniture offerings, among other items across Target’s assortment mix. Target previously said its Black Friday deals are backed by a holiday price match guarantee. Target stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and will reopen at 7:00 a.m. local time on Black Friday.

Amazon is hosting its 48-hour Black Friday event beginning on Thanksgiving Day. “Prime members can rely on fast, free, and convenient delivery on millions of items throughout the holiday season, including One-Day Delivery coast-to-coast, Same-Day Delivery in more than 47 cities, and delivery in as fast as five hours from click-to-doorstep in 15 U.S. cities,” it said.

Deals this year include deep discounts on top products that includes “seasonal fashion finds, including Rag & Bone from Shopbop,” kid-favorite toys and baby essentials from Mattel and Cybex gb Pockit, among others. Other seasonal fashion finds include up to 40 percent off on Levi’s for the family, up to 30 percent off on Adidas, and up to 25 percent off on denim brands that include Frame and Mother Denim, among other deals. Shoppers can also buy from gift guides that include Italian luxury offerings from La Perla and Missoni.