The Last Black Friday?

Black Friday has come and gone and now retailers are yelling for joy. According to reports Black Friday sales we're up 6.6% from last year. It's a success! But wait, all is not good, "some of the biggest and most rapidly growing components of retailing include segments that we don't really think of as shopping. The biggest retail sector is cars and car parts, which account for about 18 percent of the total; they're up 10.1 percent so far this year. Food and beverage stores — i.e. groceries—constitute about 13.2 percent of sales, and they're up 5.6 percent through the first ten months. Gasoline stations alone account for 11.7 percent of total sales, and their sales are up 19 percent so far in 2011, thanks to higher gas prices. Food service and drinking places account for 10.7 percent of total sales." Inflation rears it's head.

I think this Black Friday may be a watershed moment. Brick and Mortar business, which the day was devised for continue to suffer. How can you sustain a business when your giving away stuff for what you paid for it? A $400 TV for $199 doesn't leave much profit, if any to run on. More and more people are shopping online where the threat of being pepper sprayed while shopping is diminished. The violence we see on TV will cause people to avoid the whole day at the mall, and instead shop from home.

I find Black Friday the antithesis of what the season is suppose to be. Christmas, and the assorted holidays are now just dates on the calendar for many people. A time to spend, spend, spend. It's going to be coming to halt real soon. While anything can happen, I feel we are headed into an era of continued store closings. There are just too many retail stores for the need. It's happening in the nursery business, and many other businesses.

Garden centers and nurseries would be wise to position themselves as the antithesis of Black Friday. Places that calm the nerves, inspire the mind, and provide a locally produced product that increases in value over time.