Whether or not the retail sales on Black Friday made a big impact on the economy in 2012 since overall sales were down 1.8 percent from last year, retailers such as Target had a better turnout than previous years.
“This year was super, super successful,” said Mark Hizon, executive team leader of Target in Fullerton. The Fullerton location on Yorba Linda Boulevard, near Cal State Fullerton, had lines that sprawled across the front of the store.
Hizon said the success of Black Friday sales were due to their large assortment of values across the store.
“This year was complete, in the sense of we had a little bit of TVs, we had some great deals in our domestic department, where you’d get a $2 towel, which is very, very popular,” he said.
One of Target’s Black Friday deals was a 32-inch TV for $147, which Hizon said sold out quickly.
Many retailers have also increased safety precautions.
Extra safety precautions were taken this year for employees and guests on Black Friday. Four years ago, a Long Island, N.Y. Walmart employee was trampled to death by a stampede of guests who toppled large glass doors.
“At Target safety is huge … We want them (customers) to be able to come to our store, and not only offer a great shopping experience, but get the products they want, but they need to have a safe and secure environment,” Hizon said.
Hizon also had the assets protection team, or loss prevention team, talking with guests to ensure that they set up expectations about how shopping in the store was going to look like, as well as the flow of guest traffic into the store.
They did not let all their guests in at the same time.
“We wanted to make sure that we can reserve that safe and secure environment for our guests,” Hizon said.
Although there were many people who waited days in line at some retail stores, some stayed away. Students like Rachel Russel, 18, a health science major, did not participate in Black Friday this year because she “didn’t feel like getting punched.”
Although Russell said she believes the shopping sales on Black Friday stimulates the economy somewhat, she doesn’t believe it’s worth it to go. “I’ve seen a lot of videos from Walmart, there was this big mob of people getting injured.”
She said the only way she would camp out would be the deals for a TV. “They (retailers) were taking hundreds of dollars off of TVs, and I want a big screen TV. So, I’d sit outside for a TV,” Russell said.
However, it is unclear if Black Friday stimulates the economy.
“That depends on whether it actually increases national retail sales or simply shifts sales from later (or earlier) in the year,” said Jane Hall, an economics professor at CSUF.
She said it is still seen as an indicator of how robust holiday shopping is likely to be because a high percentage of annual retail sales are tied to the winter holidays.
“An increase in Black Friday sales over previous years is seen as a positive sign for retail sales overall,” Hall said.
Even though many retailers saw an increase in sales this year, the numbers were still down from last year. A report released Saturday by retail technology company ShopperTrak found that consumers spent $11.2 billion at stores across the U.S. on Friday.