Retailers don’t want anything to do with Columbus Day
The Columbus Day sale – a long-standing ritual for car dealerships and department stores – is dead.
The big picture: Traders are moving away from big sales events in general, and are particularly keen to distance themselves from this particularly controversial federal holiday, which falls on Monday.
The plot: For years, states and municipalities have started renaming “Columbus Day” as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” to protest against the legacy of colonialism hanging over the so-called “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus.
- The last thing retailers want is to get caught up in the crop war.
- “I think this one is simple and they can just say, ‘Hey, I’m just going to rename the sale or cancel the sale and not care,’ says Katie Thomas, head of the Kearney Consumer Institute, a think tank within the management consulting firm Kearney.
- Also, fewer people have a day off for Columbus Day than in the past, so they don’t have a long weekend for shopping.
Driving the news: Canceling or curtailing major sales events this year would be an especially easy call. This season’s well-documented “Shortage of Everything” means retailers don’t know what inventory they’ll have in a few weeks, and therefore can’t plan marketing campaigns in advance.
- “If you make a big deal this weekend and say you’re going to have a lot of good products, you’re basically going to prepare for a shortage and disappoint a bunch of people”, Marc Rousset, partner of the practice of retail and consumer goods consulting firm Oliver Wyman, says Axios.
But even after supply chains and inventory finally stabilize, retailers will likely continue to cut back on big weekend-only sales events.
- “Some of these sales are just a bit outdated or relics from the past,” Thomas told Axios. “Some of the traditional department store sales, like a blank sale, just aren’t as relevant anymore.”
And after: Expect to see fewer department stores and big box stores tie big sales to federal holidays.
- “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Memorial Day [sales] then go on, ”Rousset said.
- “It’s a little bold – I don’t know if I would bet the firm on it – but I think people, you know, see the benefits of simplification.”