December 28, 2014
Ronald Friedman, Co-Leader, Retail/Consumer Products Industry Group, Quoted in Los Angeles Times Article "Bullish Holiday Shoppers are Eager to Spend."
By Tiffany Hsu, Andrew Khouri and Ronald White
Holiday shoppers were back in force Friday, clutching gift cards, searching for deals, returning unwanted presents and feeling pretty good about the year ahead.
As cars circled mall parking lots across the Southland on Friday afternoon, experts were largely bullish as they offered predictions on this year's shopping results and implications for the year ahead.
Friday will probably be the second-busiest shopping day this year, following the Saturday before Christmas, according to retail analytics firm ShopperTrak. The foot traffic is expected to exceed Black Friday's. Consumers will spend so much that the day's revenue will be the sixth-highest of 2014.
Upscale brands such as Michael Kors probably outperformed what Ron Friedman, a retail expert at consulting and accounting firm Marcum, refers to as mainstream brands, which include Target and Wal-Mart.
The apparel category is still suffering and consumers aren't as confident as they could be, he said. "Sentiment is confused, unsure and cautious — people are trying to keep their credit cards paid off," he said.
Discounting will probably continue deep into January, affecting retailers' bottom lines, Friedman said.
"I don't know if the first quarter's going to be anything to write home about," he said. "It'll be the second and third quarter where we're going to see improvement."