MRA President says on-line purchases topped in-store sales on Black Friday.
Annapolis, Md (KM) The holidays are the biggest time of the year for retailers, but it’s not starting out that way for some. Cailey Locklear, the President of the Maryland Retailers Association, says sales at brick and mortar stores fell by 50% on Black Friday, while consumers spent $9-billion dollars on on line purchases.
“The e-commerce is through the roof right now,” says Locklear. “They’re going to surge about 20% which is a new record for e-commerce.”
But she said traditional merchants have added a presence on the internet as a way to get customers into their stores. :”Those guys are actually excited. They’re doing well. They’re exploring different channels with which to sell their goods,” says Locklear. “Folks that don’t have that on-line component are definitely struggling.”
One way brick and mortar merchants are using the internet is through “quick and pick.” “Where a consumer can go on line, make sure that a retailer has a product, go ahead and purchase that product, and then show it at the brick and mortar and grab it and have it immediately,” says Locklear.
Many traditional retailers have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, as several had to close or scale back their operations as customers worry that they might catch the coronavirus if they go out and shop. But Locklear says these merchants have gone out of their way to make their stores safe for customers and employees. “They’ve hired extra people to make sure the stores are sanitized. They have people temperature checking,” she said. “We’re under occupancy requirements in the state. There are so many protocols and things in place. People are really safe to go out and shop at brick and mortar.”
Currently, capacity at retail establishments is at 50% per state regulations. Customers and employees must wear masks inside a store, and practice social distancing.
Locklear urges Marylanders to support their local small businesses during the holidays and all year around. “The majority of the dollars you spend stays in your community, supports jobs and revenue and all the things that we all care about,” she said. “And we hope people will be conscious about that.”
Locklear also pointed out that those who work at these small businesses are your neighbors.
By Kevin McManus