Although many people tend to associate Black Friday with electronics, the holiday is also a great time to shop for apparel, especially online. For the past two years, numerous clothing stores offered their best online coupons of the year in the days leading up to and around Black Friday.
In many cases, these discounts were also the store's largest extra percent-off coupons from the past year, as these promotions frequently applied to existing sales. So, a cardigan you've been eyeing in the sale section that's already marked 50% off could receive a sizable additional discount via a promo code. We predict that stores like American Eagle, Aeropostale, Nautica, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, Eddie Bauer, DKNY, Perry Ellis, Lands' End, Dockers, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor LOFT, Lucky Brand Jeans, and more will take an extra 30% to 50% off sitewide during this year's Black Friday weekend. The codes will often then stack with sales that already cut up to 70% off.
Naturally, when we find a "best of the year" coupon — or an all-time low price on an apparel item — we mark it an Editors' Choice deal. As such, 27% of the apparel deals during Black Friday weekend last year were marked. Comparatively, a random 5-day weekend span, on average, features about 10% Editors' Choice. Black Friday weekend 2012 should similarly feature an increase in above-average apparel deals.
Luxury Retailers in Question
In our Black Friday "postmortem" feature last year, dealnews was happy to report that 2011 saw luxury retailers join in on the Black Friday fun. Typically, stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus had avoided offering promotions during the shopping holiday all together. But last year Saks promoted a Thanksgiving sale that took up to 70% off, while its OFF 5th outlet took an extra 30% to 50% off sitewide. Meanwhile, Neiman Marcus took an extra 20% off sale items marked up to 50% off, while its outlet outpost, Last Call, took an extra 40% off already discounted prices.
We were set to predict that these two retailers would both offer Black Friday offerings once again in 2012, but a recent article in SmartMoney suggests that these stores may once again view the Black Friday frenzy to be in opposition of the very brand ideals they're trying to cultivate. In an article titled "Discounts Will Be Few and Far Between at Saks," SmartMoney had this to say about Sak's CEO Steve Sadove's renewed approach to high-end retail:
"During the last December holidays, the sales tags were reserved almost exclusively for the season's dregs. Over the past year, Sadove has pared down the discounts at Saks's big semiannual friends-and-family sales. Remaining sales are shorter and offer smaller price cuts. Saks has nixed discounts on cosmetics and some designers altogether. 'We have to reinforce that we're not a promotional department store,' he says."
The article and its quotes from Sadove suggest that the Black Friday discounts we saw last year were the last effects of Saks' "promotional department store" branding missteps. And though no such statement about sales has come from Neiman Marcus, the sentiment is probably one that exists at most luxury stores when considering whether to partake in Black Friday promotions. We can at least hope that the outlet branches of one of these stores (which already operate under the veil of selling discounted luxury goods) might once again offer a special holiday sale.
Flash Sale Sites Will Disappoint
Living Social and Groupon made the news last year when both sites decided to launch Black Friday-branded sales that mainly included what were supposed to be exceptionally good voucher offers. However, these deals left something to be desired. We're accustomed to being inundated with offers from vendors we're not familiar with every day, but on the biggest shopping weekend of the year, we'd expect more notable vendors; the only eye-catching offer from both Living Social and Groupon last year was a $20 Old Navy credit for $10, offered by the latter.
Groupon has focused more on its Groupon Goods imprint as of late, in which it offers flash sales on discounted products rather than vouchers or services. This could result in a greater number of product deals, and since specific commodities tend to be easily assessed via online comparison, the new focus might force Groupon to offer something more substantial this year.
Summary: Black Friday Predictions for Apparel
- Many apparel retailers will offer "best of the year" coupons
- Luxury retailers might only offer sales via outlet stores
- Few notable vouchers from flash sale sites
- Groupon will offer more Groupon Goods deals