Downtown Mall holiday

THE DAILY PROGRESS FILE

Black Friday, the traditional day of spending with all of its hype, secret door prizes and early morning door-side camping rituals, is actually the second-biggest shopping day of the year in the Charlottesville area, coming in behind Panic Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas.

According to Womply, a national software company that provides front-end software for businesses from payment to customer relationship to reputation management, Charlottesville-area retailers see more business and income on the Saturday before Christmas than any other day of the year.

Black Friday runs second in the area, with the Friday before Christmas being the third-strongest sales day of the year for area retailers. In fact, area retailers make 10.6% of their annual sales between Black Friday and Christmas Eve.

The strength of the local Black Friday tradition belies that of the national trend, according to Womply figures. Nationwide, the Friday before Christmas is number one followed by the Saturday before Christmas, the Friday before Mother’s Day and the Saturday before Mother’s Day each beat the sales figures for Black Friday.

“I believe it. The whole last week before Christmas is busy. Last Christmas Eve, we were going to close around 2 p.m., but we had so many customers coming in that we stayed open until 6 p.m.,” said Binki Romeo, of Attic Artifacts, in Albemarle County’s Woodbrook Shopping Center.

“As a shopper, Black Friday used to be really great, but I think it’s overrated. They’ve pushed it back so far into Thanksgiving that there’s no real reason to get up and stand in lane at 5 a.m.,” Romeo said. “And, to be honest, I’m not going shopping on Thanksgiving evening. I’m tired. I’m full of food. I’m not going anywhere.”

Small Business Saturday, which follows Black Friday, is rated 118 out of 365 days for the number of sales in the Charlottesville area. The Sunday after Thanksgiving rates only 342 out of 365 days for the number of sales made.

The worst day to go holiday shopping is Christmas Day and the next-to-worst is Thanksgiving Day, according to Womply’s figures. New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday follow close behind.

“I think the key takeaway here for consumers is that retailers still think of Black Friday as the deals day of the year, so, if you’re a bargain hunter, Black Friday is still Mecca in 2019,” said Ellen Ford, spokeswoman for Womply.

From Black Friday to Christmas Eve, the average retailer in Charlottesville sees $1,279 in daily revenue, about 26.4% over their average daily revenue. They have a third more transactions than an average day during the year and the average sale is $79.24.

Womply’s figures for the Charlottesville area include the city plus Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene and Nelson counties.

Womply said the town of Orange and surrounding area saw $917 a day in purchases during the Black Friday to Christmas Eve period with the average purchase of $78.36 and 14.6% of retailers’ annual sales.

The Staunton-Waynesboro area saw $1,103 a day in sales with an average $99.29 per sale, making up 12.2% of retailers’ annual sales in that same period.

Retailers in the Richmond metropolitan area saw sales of $1,252 a day with an average sale of $76.73 for 9.3% of their annual sales, the statistics show.

Ford said the length of the shopping season gives everyone a chance to hit the stores.

“If you’re a consumer that hates crowds, and spending a little more is worth your sanity,” she said. “Most retailers still offer great holiday deals throughout the period between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. And, in that case, getting your shopping done the Sunday of Thanksgiving Weekend is a smart bet.”

Romeo said Attic Artifacts will open on Black Friday and feature big sales just like the big stores. Just don’t get in line at 4 a.m. — the store won’t open until its usual 10 a.m.

“We always have deals on Black Friday because no one expects a thrift store to do that,” Romeo said. “But we’re not going to open that early. Forget that.”

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