November 23, 2014
Ronald Friedman, Co-Leader, Retail/Consumer Products Industry Group, Quoted in Los Angeles Times Article, "Black Friday Highlights the Contrast Between Rich and Poor."
By Shan Li
Discounters and mid-priced chains, eager to gain an edge on competitors for limited gift budgets, have again moved their opening times earlier into Turkey Day, with Kmart leading the pack by launching specials at 6 a.m. Higher-end retailers, however, are keeping their doors firmly shut until Friday.
Increasingly, the seasonal shopping surge has become a window into America's class divide, in which high earners have benefited from a booming stock market and rising home prices as many others still grapple with stagnant incomes and lingering financial anxiety.
Consider these opposite scenarios: In 2013, Bloomingdale's went against the grain by offering fewer Black Friday bargains than the year before, according to the advertising experts at bestblackfriday.com. At a Wal-Mart in Duarte, customers elbowed one another to get their hands on Crayola crayon sets, marked down to $11 from nearly $20. (A trending Twitter hashtag last Thanksgiving was #WalmartFights.)
"That 1% came down to the Wal-Marts and Targets to spend their dollars," said Ron Friedman, a retail expert at consulting and accounting firm Marcum. "Now that the economy is improving they are going back to Nordstrom."