What it's like at NYC's Herald Square shopping area on Black Friday

Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi reports live from the Herald Square shopping district to discuss Black Friday shopping habits this year.

Video Transcript


SEANA SMITH: Retailers, they cannot escape the selloff that we're seeing on the street today on fears of the new COVID variant. You're looking at Macy's, Nordstrom, PVH, and Kohl's, all under pressure this morning. PVH, one of the worst performers, off just over 8%.

Brian Sozzi standing outside on 34th Street in New York City. And Soz, there's lots of concern just about this new variant and what that means for shopping behavior heading into the holiday season. What does it look like out there today?

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, Seana, you're right. I can't even escape the selloff either. I've been on the Yahoo Finance app watching you all live all morning long, great stuff. But look, myself and my camera guy Justin, who's on the other side of the lens here, holding this camera, we were in this exact same spot in Macy's in Herald Square last year with the pandemic raging. And I can tell you, and I have some photos here, there was nobody here.

The streets were empty. The crowds, they just were non-existent, given the concerns that we were seeing at the time on the COVID variant. Now, this year, a little bit of a different scene. Now, there are some crowds here behind me you could see. I did tour a good portion of the Macy's Herald Square store that I'm standing out in front of earlier on today, a little bit of a slow build.

But I think the reality is that this is a different holiday shopping season compared to holiday seasons before. You just don't get those same type of crowds.

And I do also, while I have you guys here, got some new data in terms of online spending from Salesforce. Global online sales only up 1% year over year on Thanksgiving. That is a tough, tough number to see, especially given all the optimism you have seen in the markets here. You would have thought there'd be more aggressive online shopping.

But overall, you look throughout-- this is Macy's Herald Square. Now, if this was six or seven years ago, this place would be absolutely mobbed. And that is not the case, not the case. And I will show you that this, in many respects, could be a typical Friday afternoon out here in New York City. I mean, you see the streets kind of empty I mean. But by and large, you don't see the crowds in front of this Old Navy, Foot Locker, Hollister down the street.

And this thinking, I think, among retail executives that we're back to some form of new normal and things are back to 2018-2017 levels is completely ridiculous. And I would even say here, you look at that Forever 21 right there, 30% off, the discounts that I've seen have just not been there. You see a lot of retailers, I think, trying to push through the inflation they're experiencing in their operations, of course transportation, logistics, you name it here.

But again, a little bit different scene. Crowds, I would say, are up year over year. But again, this ain't 2017, folks.

JARED BLIKRE: No, it's not. And Brian, first can I say, please watch your back. You don't have to risk your life for this incredible shot that you're getting us right now.

BRIAN SOZZI: Push that envelope, Jared. You have to push that envelope. One thing real quick I will mention too, Adobe out with some data on Thanksgiving. And speaking of watching my back as the bus pass we right there. By now, pay later, spending on buy now, pay later that is the Affirms of the world and Klarnas of the world, up 454% from November 1 to November 24.

So if you're looking for stocks to buy in this market route, I'm not saying you go out there and buy Affirm. But those are the companies you want to look towards, I think, in terms of trades because it looks like it is a buy now, pay later type of Black Friday or holiday season, as people try to offset or just put off paying all these inflationary prices.

SEANA SMITH: All right, Soz, stay safe out there. We don't want to see you run over by a bus. We're going to check in with you next hour. Thanks so much for bringing us the latest.

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