By Renée Jean, Business and Tourism Reporter
More than two-thirds of holiday shoppers nationwide plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend this year, and many Wyoming businesses across the state are counting on those shoppers more than ever after more than two wild years of ups and downs for retailers.
A combination of difficult factors in play this year for the retail sector could mean some pretty sweet deals for alert shoppers in the mood to spend — although many retailers report they’re already seeing signs of caution from consumers as the holiday season approaches.
“We had an exceptional year in 2021,” Tasha Messenger with Messenger Girls in Lander told Cowboy State Daily. “But this year has been really tough, to be honest. Like ever since March, collectively, the majority of businesses on Main Street, we’ve been down about 40%.”
Messenger said many of her customers are looking for smaller gifts than usual.
“People are still trying to shop, but they can’t afford those bigger purchases,” she said. “They still want to get something, though, so we’ve been switching to where we get more affordable, as opposed to bigger, purchase items.”
Messenger’s store will be among those participating in Black Friday deals, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday.
“We all kind of hit this weekend big because, honestly, this weekend is usually our biggest,” Messenger said.
Deals won’t likely stop with the upcoming weekend, though, Messenger said. She plans a variety of promotions throughout the season to attract as many holiday shoppers as possible.
Look For Themes
Jolene Osbeck with Palace Pharmacy in Lander meanwhile reports a similar situation. She has been looking toward events to draw customers into the store, with an eye toward fun first.
“We’re doing a ladies night, which we’ve been doing for a while now,” she told Cowboy State Daily. “It’s catered and we have drinks and giveaways and I do a sale. It’s really fun.
“And even if they don’t buy a bunch of things that evening, at least they’ve been in here and then they’ll come back because, you know, there’s always the last-minute things to get or you’re going to a little party and you need to bring a gift.”
Stocked And Stoked
Other retailers are somewhat generously stocked for the season.
For some, that’s because of orders made in 2021 that are now finally arriving. Others, meanwhile, had ordered more to ensure they’d have something to sell in anticipation of potential supply chain issues.
To the extent retailers have ended up with more inventory than they need for the holidays could spur generous deals for consumers late in the fourth quarter, which is always make-or-break for most retail businesses that can expect as much as 60% of their annual income leading up to Thanksgiving and through Christmas.
‘We Have A Lot Of Inventory’
Walmart is among those stocked for the season, as is Target, and representatives of both stores told Cowboy State Daily they are planning big sales.
“I just know that we have a lot of inventory and we typically, just because of what happened with COVID, we have a lot more days of deals rather than just the one Black Friday event,” cashier Lexi Gonzales with Cheyenne Walmart told Cowboy State Daily. “We get a lot of good products in for deals for customers on different days rather than just the one Black Friday event.”
Target stores in Wyoming are offering 50% off a wide range of goods.
“They’ve announced, like, the biggest Black Friday week of deals that they’ve had in a while,” said Elisa Ellis with Target. “We’re well-stocked in all of our stores.”