‘Super Saturday’ Set for Record as Delays Drive Rush

Black Friday and Cyber Monday get all the hype, but with millions of procrastinators who waited too long to even trust expedited delivery, Saturday will be the real record breaker.

U.S. retail sales on the last Saturday before Christmas -- dubbed “Super Saturday” in some retail circles -- are expected to reach an all-time high of $36.1 billion this year, a 5.5% increase from 2019 levels, according to research firm Customer Growth Partners. That outpaces the $29.7 billion in sales from Black Friday, traditionally considered the kickoff for the holiday season, and dwarfs Cyber Monday’s sales of $15.1 billion.

And unlike much of that earlier shopping, the vast majority -- more than 70% -- of Saturday’s transactions will take place in person. That expected rush into stores and curbside pick-up lines could give a much-needed boost to retailers who get better margins on in-store purchases.

‘Super Saturday’ Set for Record as Delays Drive Rush

For ailing retailers, like department stores and clothing chains, a bigger-than-expected final weekend could help in the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic that has sapped demand for apparel and accessories.

Super Saturday is always a big shopping day, overtaking Black Friday as the largest spending day of the season several years ago in the U.S. But a backlog in shipping -- carriers like FedEx and UPS earlier this month temporarily restricted some packages it took from big retailers -- and the giant snowstorm hitting the Northeast U.S. this week added another layer to delivery concerns. This means, with just a week until Christmas, consumers may have no other choice than returning to the stores that they’ve largely spurned this year.

Stores “actually have the product, so there’s no worry about last-minute shipping or disappointment on Christmas Day,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic Solutions. “You could see more retail traffic than we have been seeing.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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