(SAN FRANCISCO) – In anticipation of Black Friday many stores like Old Navy and Walmart chose to make a head start on Black Friday and were open on Thanksgiving day. But while analysts were cautiously optimistic it was hard to see what impact Black Friday would actually make on this City, and that played itself out in others around the country, according to many news reports.
In San Franciso’s Union Square area, it seemed every retailer had made the same investment in a sandwich board promoting their Holiday offers. The Lucky Brand Jeans store on Grant Avenue went so far as to place a sign at the front door exclaiming, “Almost Free Clothes!”
Note to Retailer: Desperate Marketing messages are… desperate.
Meanwhile, the fervor on Union Square was at a fever pitch, with belting carolers and mounted police languidly showing off their horses to tourists on tony Maiden Lane. But one thing was missing from this picture: shopping bags.
Just as with last year, Black Friday was a day to soak up a bit of holiday spirit and enjoy retailers’ holiday decor. For some, it seemed to be a chance to kick the tires on merchandise that will inevitably go on sale in the coming days. The Louis Vuitton store was mobbed with luxury gawkers, but only those visitors with Euros in their pockets seemed to be making the purchases. Adjacent to that store is the spanking new Bulgari boutique, all chrome and LED lights. They actually propped their door open in the hopes that perhaps someone would blow through the door and pick up a few gems.
But the talk of the day was online deals, and it looks like it might be a banner year for retailing online. According to Network World, The most visited retail property on Black Friday was Amazon.com, which logged a 28% increase in the number of unique visitors compared to last year. The top five most visited retailers were Walmart (22% growth), Apple (up 39%), Target (up 2%) and Best Buy (up 24%).
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that this year’s Black Friday saw $595 million in online sales — an 11 percent increase compared to Black Friday 2008.
Not far away, within steps of the tightly clenched wallets of passersby was the Yves Saint Laurent boutique, which limps towards its final day. Sales Associates poured some of the last bottles of champagne for the few loyal clients who bothered to stop by. They made their final purchases at the store at 40% off. The store will quietly close this Wednesday. No word on who will take the prime location on Maiden Lane.