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JC Penney’s Million Women Walkout

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

While shying away from using the word coupon, JC Penney’s recent delivery of a $10 “gift” to its email newsletter recipients demonstrated that the beleaguered department store was finally bending to what its customers have been asking for all along: a deal. Since the commencement of its “Fair & Square” promotional strategy in Q1 of 2012, JC Penney has been fighting a losing battle with its dwindling customer base, trying to spoon feed shoppers everyday low pricing like its ice cream, while in reality they were tasting [insert your least favorite veggie here]. What did JC Penney forget? In this economy, consumers have the upper hand with retailers.

With sales set in a tailspin during the first half of the year, it’s obvious that “Fair & Square” was a costly turnabout for both JC Penney and its customers.  But what price did JC Penney pay in terms of lost shoppers?

According to the Consumer Equity Index™ for the highly competitive women’s clothing segment, JC Penney’s share of female customers shrank 13% in the past year, leaving the department store with an index of 86.9 (baseline index = 100).* That equates to a loss of 1.3 million of the department store’s most loyal female women’s clothing shoppers.

With their million woman march out of JC Penney, these shoppers appear to have gravitated to Kohl’s (index = 104.5), Macy’s (116.1), Target (121.6), and even Walmart (112.2) for their women’s apparel purchases. Female shopper share for each of these competitors has increased over the past 13 months:

A million shoppers are a lot to lose in a year’s time – especially in just one category – but the numbers become even more sobering when you consider how much potential revenue JC Penney let slip from its grasp. With the average female spending more than $500 per year within the women’s clothing segment, an estimated $745 million in potential revenue has walked out of JC Penney’s women’s department over the past year – that’s a big share of purse, if you will.

JC Penney’s $10 gift comes at a pivotal time for retailing: the all-important holiday season. And with shoppers continuing to be drawn to sales, coupons, and promotions like moths to a flame, JC Penney is likely to see a short-term increase in the foot traffic it so desperately needs. However, while the department store indicates that this “gift” does not signal their return to couponing, if they want repeat customers, they may have to keep the coupons gifts coming.

* The Consumer Equity Index™ from BIGinsight™ is a year over year index showing growth or decline of consumer preference share. An index of 100 is flat, an index of 105 indicates 5% growth, while an index of 95 denotes 5% decline.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com as a contribution to the Prosper Now blog.

The Not-So-Jolly Holiday Outlook for JC Penney Shoppers

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

2012 hasn’t been kind to JC Penney. And, it doesn’t appear that Q4 will get any better for the department store, which has struggled to shake up its stodgy image this year and in the process has rattled its core customer base. According to the Prosper Spending Index, JC Penney shoppers’ outlook for holiday gift spending falls below that of the general population, with an index of 95.9 (baseline index = 100).* Among JC Penney shoppers with holiday spending plans in mind, two in five (44.2%) plan to spend less on holiday gifts this year than they did for 2011, while fewer than one in ten (7.4%) plan to spend more.

As could be expected, the holiday spending outlook is similar among those shopping Walmart (index = 94.4). Still, a slightly larger proportion of shoppers at the discounter, known to cater to more cash-strapped, lower income households, plans to spend more for the upcoming holiday season (9.5%) compared to JC Penney shoppers (7.4%).

Among the customers analyzed, shoppers at Macy’s, a retailer which has arguably benefited from JC Penney’s EDLP strategy switch-up, maintain the most positive outlook on holiday gift spending, with a Prosper Spending Index of 110.9. TJ Maxx loyalists also hold a brighter-than-average outlook (index = 106.3). Target (102.4) and Kohl’s (101.0) shoppers’ holiday spending plans are in line with the overall average.

So we know JC Penney shoppers will be trying to cut back on their holiday gift spending this year, but just how do they intend to accomplish this?

Memo to Ron Johnson: Your shoppers (or what’s left of them) are still motivated to buy based on sales and coupons.

Among JC Penney customers, nearly half say they are shopping for sales more often (45.4%) and/or are clipping coupons (42.1%) in efforts to help balance their budgets – higher than the overall average. Among the retailers mentioned, Kohl’s shoppers – rabid for that Kohl’s Cash – are the only ones eclipsing both of these figures.

With economic uncertainty pervading consumer mindsets, today’s shoppers – JC Penney’s included – continue to possess an innate need to feel good about spending their hard earned dollars, particularly when it comes to spending on those not-so-essentials like gifts and apparel. And in shoppers’ “feel-good” toolkit are coupons, weekly promos, and special sales. These items are, of course, generally absent from JC Penney’s promotional strategy – setting the department store up for additional customer loss during the critical holiday season.

Think about it like this: getting a $60 sweater on sale for $30 is something to write home tweet about. Simply buying a sweater for the $30 ticket price? It’s a little ho-ho-hum.

* Holiday outlook insights are based on celebrants who have holiday spending plans in mind.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com as a contribution to the Prosper Now blog.

“Fair & Square” Revisited

June 14, 2012 9 comments

When we first took a look at the new JC Penney “Fair & Square” strategy back in March, the initial read was so-so from the consumer standpoint. In our monthly “Hot or Not?” feature, more deemed it “not” (58.3%) than “hot” (41.7%), though JC Penney Women’s Clothing Shoppers* seemed the most willing to give the strategy a chance, particularly compared to Kohl’s, Target, and Walmart shoppers.

Flash forward to June…

In the wake of JC Penney’s disastrous Q1 earnings report, we decided to again poll our nearly 9,000 consumers for an update on their “Fair & Square” feelings. As you can imagine, it’s not faring so well; over the past three months, those who think JCP’s new direction is “hot” dropped nearly 14%:

Hot or Not? JC Penney's "Fair & Square" Ad Campaign

But the real issue here is how “Fair & Square” has affected JC Penney’s consumer share. A look at 10 years of BIG historical data on the current Top 5 Women’s Clothing retailers tells three tales:

1. The Decline of Walmart
2. The Rise of Kohl’s
3. The Macy’s / JC Penney Clash

Women's Clothing - Shop at Most Often

Let’s leave Walmart and Kohl’s out of the story for once and make JC Penney and Macy’s the main characters. As you can see, since Macy’s nationwide conversion in the mid-2000s, these two department stores have been tangling pretty consistently for third place in this category – with JC Penney generally the victor. However, a magnified look at each retailer’s performance over the past 13 months shows just how damaging “Fair & Square” was for JCP’s customer base:

Women's Clothing - JC Penney / Macy's Snapshot

Instead of driving shoppers to its stores, “Fair & Square” sent its customers right into the arms of competitors. #whatanightmare

* A selection of Women’s Clothing retailers was analyzed for this report. “Women’s Clothing Shoppers” are defined as those who shop most at a given retailer for Women’s Clothing (an unaided, write-in response).

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JUN-12 (N = 8760, 6/5 – 6/12/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

The Price of a Woman’s Face

I was shopping one of my favorite retailers last weekend–Target. Big Red and I have a history. For years, one of my beloved pastimes is to grab a cinnamon dolce latte from Starbucks and just browse aimlessly up and down the aisles until something interesting lands in my cart. This particular weekend the spirit moved me in the cosmetic aisle and I scored six E.L.F. (Eyes, Lips, Face) items for six bucks. That’s less than how much I usually pay for a tube of mascara!

My weekend “score”

High off of my dollar-a-tube spending spree, I was fairly impressed with my purchase. But then I was quickly deflated when I started to add up the other products that currently have a home on my face. For one, I use a department store foundation ($25), which I have been conditioned to believe that I just cannot live without. Same goes for eye shadow (another $25). But my latest “big ticket” cosmetic purchase is an Arbonne makeup primer, which with tax and shipping set me back about fifty bucks.

My guilty pleasure

So even if I replaced my eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, blush, powder and concealer with E.L.F. products, I put a grand total of $106 on my face each day.

I am a self-admitted make-up junkie, so I spend a bit more on cosmetics than the average Jo(an). According to the BIGinsight™ monthly survey, women spend an average of $16.22 a month on both skin care and cosmetics combined. That equals out to about $195 a year. Women ages 35-44 appear to spend the most, likely due to means or possibly motivation—a wrinkle (gasp!). Women 65+ spend the least.

You could probably guess that my favorite place to purchase cosmetics is Target. And although Walmart is King Queen when it comes to store shopped most often for skin care and cosmetic products for women of all ages, Target is more likely to crop up in the list among younger sets.  Drug stores are also popular choices across the board.

Discounters and drug stores are likely popular choices because they carry what a woman wants – at price points most of us ladies can afford. Cover Girl is ranked as the most popular cosmetic line for all age breaks, followed by Maybelline in most instances (women 65+ seem to rely pretty heavily on their Avon lady). Revlon comes in at #3 for women ages 25-34, 35-44 and 55+.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, Jul-11, N=8684

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Consumer Buzz: Women’s Clothing

April 12, 2012 3 comments

According to new analysis by BIGinsight, department stores are more buzzed about than discounters when it comes to shopping locales for feminine apparel.* For this special report, we’ve applied the Net Promoter Score** metrics system to our April Consumer Survey data to show how consumers perceive their Women’s Clothing store of choice.

Here, we took the percentage of a destination’s detractors from the number of those who actively promote their Women’s store of choice, which helps us evaluate the strength of a retailer’s image for the Women’s Clothing category. And, among the Top 5 stores for this segment, we found that Kohl’s receives the most net positive buzz (NPS = 36.2%) from its customers, followed by Macy’s and JC Penney (see below). While Target’s NPS was significantly lower than its department store counterparts (at 2.6%), the discounter still garnered an overall positive rating. That other big discounter – Walmart – was the only retailer in the Top 5 to calculate a negative NPS (-10.3%)…ouch.

Net Promoter Score - Women's Clothing

It’s interesting to note that while the most buzzed about retailers are department stores by definition, each courts customers based on varying motivations. For the Kohl’s and JC Penney shoppers, price and selection are the key reasons to peruse their racks; for Macy’s, it’s quality and selection. At Walmart, customers shop based on price and location, while Target woos shoppers with a mix of price, selection, and location (shoppers seem divided between the latter two).

Women's Clothing - Select Reasons to Shop a Store Most Often

What analysts are buzzing about, though, is consumers’ reaction to JC Penney’s new “Fair & Square” pricing strategy. As it turns out, JC Penney’s customers just aren’t as likely to be lured by coupons and special deals when it comes to shopping the Women’s section. While Walmart and Target are the least likely to be motivated by this sales simulant, over at Kohl’s, we might see shopper anarchy if this department store darling adopts a similar strategy #kohlscashforever

Coupons/Special Sales Motivate Women's Clothing Purchases

*April 2012’s Top 5 Retailers for Women’s Clothing (Kohl’s, Walmart, Macy’s, JC Penney, Target) were analyzed for this blog.

**Net Promoter, NPS and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld

The NPS which takes a simple question–Would you recommend us to a friend?–has helped countless organizations better understand “promoters” and “detractors” and paint a clear picture of their company’s performance through the eyes of their customers. By applying the Net Promoter Score*, executives can identify their customer base and move beyond “sufficient” to brand loyalty and growth.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – APR-12 (N = 8724, 4/3 – 4/10/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

“Fair is Fair” but is Square…well…Square?

March 22, 2012 8 comments

As any self-respecting child of the 80’s knows – “Fair is Fair.” Doesn’t the theme from that nearly 30 year old [ack!] cult classic take you back? Pat Benatar, anyone? Supergirl? An undying love for Christian Slater? But I digress…let’s hop out of the DeLorean and evaluate what really got me thinking about “Fair is Fair”:

JC Penney’s new “Fair & Square” Ad Campaign

The complete overhaul of JCP’s marketing, merchandising, and promotions plans certainly made headlines in the retail community, but what do consumers really think about this strategy switch-up? In addition to being practical and realistic in their purchasing, today’s shoppers are also “intelligent”: researching products, comparing prices, stalking sales, and couponing like crazy.  And, consumers are all the more informed when aided by their mobile devices. Knowing all this, it seems that JCP’s new “Fair & Square” approach might be as dated as a Flock of Seagulls hairdo. So who’s buying what JCP’s selling?Hot or Not? JC Penney's "Fair & Square" Ad Campaign

In our March Consumer Survey of more than 9,000 consumers, we put JC Penney’s “Fair & Square” Ad Campaign to the test in our monthly “Hot or Not?” feature. As it turns out, more deemed it “not” (58.3%) than “hot” (41.7%) – placing “Fair & Square” in the middle of the pack compared to the other items we polled this month.

But who are the two out of five customers who have at least had their interests – if not their wallets – piqued by “Fair & Square”? These shoppers are more prone to be women (59.9%), married (53.2%), middle-aged (46.7 years, on average), and earning about $56,000/year…sounds like JC Penney’s typical Women’s Clothing shopper.

Is that not interesting enough for you? Let’s take a look at “Fair & Square” from a different perspective – Women’s Clothing shoppers from competing retailers.* Interestingly, fewer shoppers at Walmart – home to the somewhat similar EDLP pricing strategy – warmed up to the idea of “Fair & Square.” Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Old Navy shoppers were relatively more excited by the concept than Kohl’s or Target loyalists:

JC Penney's "Fair & Square" Ad Campaign is HOT

From this standpoint, it appears that most shoppers have a so-so opinion of “Fair & Square” so far. Perhaps they’re walking into JCP to see what all of the fuss is about, but whether or not they’ll convert to the retailer over the long haul remains to be seen – as does the department store’s ability to retain its current customer base.

Ah, Love Retail is a Battlefield.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

* A selection of Women’s Clothing retailers was analyzed for this report. “Women’s Clothing Shoppers” are defined as those who shop most at a given retailer for Women’s Clothing (an unaided, write-in response).

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – MAR-12 (N = 9242, 3/6 – 3/13)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

Valentine’s Day 2012: Do Macy’s Shoppers Have the Biggest Hearts?

February 6, 2012 1 comment

While it looks like consumers in general are feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, new analysis by BIGinsight shows that the hearts seem to grow fondest among Macy’s shoppers. For this exclusive report, we analyzed the Valentine’s Day plans among shoppers at five major U.S. retailers: JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target, and Walmart (non-grocery).*

While about three in five consumers (59.4%) overall are planning to celebrate February 14 this year, this number rises among Macy’s shoppers (68.2%). Hearts are also beating a little faster among Target (64.3%) and JC Penney (63.4%) buyers, while Kohl’s and Walmart are closer to the national average.

What really sets Macy’s celebrants apart from the rest is the amount they plan to spend on the ones they love. While the average consumer is allocating $126.03 towards gifts for significant others, children, friends, pets, and others, Macy’s shoppers are allotting about 30% more: $164.67. Every other shopper group we looked at for this report is planning to spend below average:

Valentine's Day 2012: Combined Average Spending Plans

So why are Macy’s shoppers’ spending plans so robust compared to the rest of the retailers we reviewed? We found a few interesting insights here:

- Macy’s shoppers simply have more available to spend. The average yearly income of Macy’s shoppers exceeds the take home pay of the other shopper groups we looked at for this report.
- Macy’s shoppers are wooing and less likely “I doing.” Macy’s (and Target) shoppers were the groups most likely to check the “Single, never married” box in the marital status portion of our survey, while JC Penney and Kohl’s shoppers were the most probable to be hitched. Come to think of it, I did receive more flowers, candy, and – most importantly – jewelry before I was married…
- Sale shopping is less important to the Macy’s customers. In January, nearly one in five Macy’s shoppers reported that sales aren’t important to them when buying clothing, compared to just 9% of Kohl’s shoppers. BTW, Kohl’s customers are the most likely of these five groups to only buy clothing when on sale, probably accounting for at least part of why these deal-oriented shoppers have the most frugal Valentine’s Day budget. (Kohl’s Cash, anyone?)
- Macy’s shoppers are more optimistic on matters of the economy. Nearly two in five (37.3%) Macy’s customers were very confident or confident in chances for a strong economy in January, 20%+ higher than general population (30.4%). Confidence among Kohl’s, JC Penney, and Walmart shoppers indexed below average, and as we all [should] know, low confidence does not spur spending.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

And, click to view the original National Retail Federation press release: Americans to Pull Out All the Stops This Valentine’s Day.

* “Shoppers” are defined as respondents who indicated that they shopped a retailer most often for at least one major merchandise category (including Women’s, Men’s, or Children’s Apparel, Shoes, Electronics, Heath & Beauty Care, etc.), unless otherwise noted. Shopper groups analyzed in this report are not mutually exclusive.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JAN-12 (N = 9317, 1/4 – 1/11/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp

BIG on the Street: Black Friday, Part II

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment

So I’ve mentioned that I continued Black Friday tradition this year by shopping with my best friend and her mother. Now, her mother didn’t join us for our Target excursion; instead, she headed to the mall to stake out Bath & Body Works (B&BW), also opening at midnight. Our B&BW target was the annual VIP bag, a purchase-with-purchase special for the day that included a variety of fun, I-don’t-really-need-these type of items (which *ahem* were a bit leaner compared to the 2010 bag and most noticeably did not include last year’s coupon for $10 off a $10 purchase).

However like moths drawn to a flame, we Black Friday shoppers needed this “deal.” And, given the line at Target, we didn’t think we’d make it over to the mall in a sufficient amount of time. My friend’s mother was sent to B&BW with instructions to grab some of their $10 three wick candles (enough to use a $10 off $30 coupon and qualify for the VIP bag). Much to our surprise though, by the time we made it out of Target (12:25pm) and over to the mall, my friend’s mother was still in line at B&BW! Yes, that’s right, our shopping trip to Target was quicker than B&BW.

Thus concluded our destination Black Friday shopping until 5am, when Toys R Us would tempt us my friend back with a new round of deals. To be perfectly honest, I find it hard to recall all of the details of this four hour timespan; perhaps this is where a few hours of pre-shopping sleep would have been beneficial. I actually had to check my receipts to see where I was and what I bought (just slightly reminiscent of The Hangover­). During this time, we stopped at Macy’s (used $10 off $25 and $20 off $50 coupons for a couple of gifts). At 2:30am, I purchased a crystal gingerbread man ornament with a $10 off $10 coupon at Elder-Beerman. (You can categorize that purchase under “Strange Items One Buys in the Wee Hours of the Morning on Zero Sleep”).

Hungry for deals? At the food court. (click to enlarge)

At some point during this time period, we did refuel at the food court, which was crowded with people. I think that this was one of the biggest differences I noticed this year compared to past. Traditionally, I think when you head over to the mall at – say – 4am on Black Friday, you don’t begin to feel really hungry until 7 or 8am, after you’ve hit your destinations. This year, I felt that a lot of people (i.e. teenagers, other youngsters, non-serious Black Friday shoppers, window shoppers, and other “roadblocks”) went to the mall to hang out for an hour or two – and to grab a bite to eat. So the mall was crowded, but the stores within the mall were manageable – somewhat like busy weekend traffic. When I explored Gap, associates were straightening clothing stacks; we saw the same scene at The Children’s Place, American Eagle, and a few other stores that opened extremely early. I didn’t even have to wait in line at Elder-Beerman to buy my crystal gingerbread man – which helped to make this a completely impulsive purchase.

Scene at the mall, about 3am. (click to enlarge)

The “sad” part about shopping so early on Black Friday is that, while we scored some great deals at Toys R Us, Target, and B&BW, we missed the 5am and 6am openings of several specialty stores (including my personal favorite, The Limited). And by 4am, I was so desperate for caffeine that I waited in line for Starbucks to raise their gate. At 5am, we were nearly cooked. Our shopping excursion ended with a stop back at Toys R Us (where the checkout line was infinitely shorter than during their 9pm opening) as well as Walmart, which was empty (not merchandise-wise, but people-wise). At Walmart, not only did my friend find the items that she was after, but we walked right up to the checkout. I was shocked to see that they were even polishing the floor of the optical center. (The lesson here: if you aren’t in need of a doorbuster, wait for the initial crowd to dissipate).

In the past, it’s been tradition for us to enjoy a 9am lunch post-Black Friday shopping and call it a day. This year, though, we were so tired after our last stop that we couldn’t even fathom making it until 9am. Maybe next year!

I’d like to conclude this post with the following thoughts on this year’s Black Friday shopping experience:

The Buddy System Rules: Late Thanksgiving openings meant that a lot of shoppers (including yours truly) were pulling all-nighters to procure their deals. Shopping with a group kept us motivated, prevented us from falling asleep in line (and behind the wheel), and increased gift finding/buying efficiency.

-  Browsers Need Not Apply: If your goal for Black Friday is to look around and people-watch, perhaps you should find some better entertainment and roam the mall on another day. Taking up valuable parking spaces, clogging aisles, and usurping benches really only irritates Black Friday shopping pros.

-  Know Your Sales: Brush up on sales, deals, and offerings before you head to the store and have your non-expired coupons in hand (and not buried in the bottom of your pocket or purse) at the checkout. Those behind you in line will be grateful for your efficiency.

-  Night Owls Got the Doorbusters, but Early Birds Still Found Worms: It was truly physically impossible for our group to begin at 9pm on Thanksgiving and shop past 6am the next morning. Unless you were looking for a doorbuster at Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, or one of the other stores opening up on Thanksgiving, beginning at 5/6am on Black Friday still afforded you a lot of deals, a few hours of sleep, and un-ransacked merchandise at those specialty stores that didn’t herald a midnight opening.

-  Remember the Spirit of the Season: Getting up early or staying up all night makes it easy to get a case of the cranky-pants. Dial down the tension and recall that [most] shoppers are in the stores to GIVE this season. If you have to fight with a fellow shopper to save few bucks on that perfect present, that present really isn’t perfect, is it?

Remember, for more Black Friday insights, you can head over to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Headquarters.

©2011, Prosper®

BIG on the Street: Black Friday, Part I

November 28, 2011 3 comments

The highlight of my Black Friday? The 30 second checkout at Target…but more on that in a bit.

Black Friday shopping is tradition for my best friend, her mother, and me. We’ve woken up before the crack of dawn for nearly twenty years since before we could drive, but this was the first year we headed out on Thanksgiving night. The 9pm specials at Toys R Us were just too good for my friend (a mother of two) to pass up.

Black Friday Scene

Our 9pm arrival at Toys R Us, camera crews waiting. (click to enlarge)

In order to keep the image of the perfect Thanksgiving intact for her young children, we started out after they were tucked in for bed. We arrived at Toys R Us (TRU) shortly before they opened, as three local TV crews readied themselves to record the madness. Our destination TRU is located in a shopping center with five other big box stores, still closed for the night. The line of shoppers stretched across the entire length of the shopping center, and we were at the very end of that line.

Toys R Us Line

We waited for an hour outside in this line. (click to enlarge)

It was nearly 10pm before we were admitted to the store. With no toys on my shopping list this year, it was my job to help my friend hunt down her deals (which seemed to be scattered randomly throughout the store). I left my friend to jump in line while she waited for a sales associate (and a ladder) to pull down the last of a doorbuster toy still in its shipping box WAY at the top of the shelving. Yes, the reasoning escaped me as to why said toy was in stock, yet not on the shelves…I was further confused when the store manager decided to nix the ladder idea and tell my friend she was out of luck. Once the manager was out of view, my friend scaled the shelving…while this action was a bit extreme – and dangerous – better customer service would have made this a non-issue.

Target Line

The line for the midnight opening at Target. (click to enlarge)

After standing in line for more than an hour, we finally made it out of TRU. As someone not buying for children, this wasn’t the best start to my Black Friday. But things picked up as we walked over to Target, located next door to the shopping center. It took us about 10 minutes of walking before we reached the end of the line at 11:15pm, which stretched across the store and down the end of the parking lot. A mutual friend met us here, and we waited for midnight to strike and Target to open.

Entrepreneurial spirit? Pizza for sale in the Target line. (click to enlarge)

For the obvious reason, we were not the first group of shoppers in our Target store. On my list were some cheap DVDs and a doorbuster gift; my expectations for finding this doorbuster were not high, knowing how far back in line we were.  As we shuffled closer to the store, the excitement in the crowd grew. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, quite a contrast from the fist fights, brawls, and pepper spray incidents I later read about. As the first-in-lines came out with their deals, they waived to a cheering crowd. It was great.

Target Instore

30 second wait in the Target line. (click to enlarge)

Surprisingly, the wait was quick, and we made in into the store at about 12:15am, splitting up and agreeing to meet at the checkout line. I found my DVDs and my gift – still in stock – and headed to the checkout at the same time as my friend. The “line” was surprisingly short; in past years, lines have woven throughout the store, so it’s likely that extended hours spread the volume of shoppers out a bit. No joke, we were out of the store at 12:25am. Quickest. Target. Trip. Ever.

As we headed over to the mall, we received a call from our mutual friend…we had left her in our dust back at Target. Not a seasoned Black Friday shopper, she told us that she was still looking around in the store and was wondering where we were. She obviously wasn’t living by our Black Friday motto: Grab, Buy, Exchange Later.

Black Friday adventures continue on Tuesday, so stay tuned. And for more Black Friday insights, collected over the weekend by BIG, head over to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Headquarters.

©2011, Prosper®

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