Steady and growing is how many Millburn merchants characterized Black Friday sales that usher in the momentum of the holiday buying season.
At the Mall at Short Hills the halls were filled with happy, bag-toting shoppers. Although the Short Hills-based luxury stores, for the most part, aren’t known for the kinds of "door buster" super sales that are found at the big box stores, there were many bargains to be found. Ann Taylor, for example, had 40 percent off everything in the store, Guess offered 60 percent off all reduced merchandise for men and women as well as having a professional DJ, which created a party atmosphere.
There was a short line outside of the Apple Store, which was offering hard-to-find, albeit small discounts on many popular products. And Anthropologie had a range of pretty items, both clothes and housewares, at attractively reduced prices
Many stores will be continuing sales and specials all through the weekend.
In addition, several stores have established philanthropic links for the holiday season. Anthropologie, for example, is donating to Maplewood’s Valerie fund, and Williams Sonoma is supporting St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
“We saw about 10 percent more traffic at 12 noon this year as opposed to 2008. There’s good traffic in the high end luxury stores," said Mall at Short Hills General Manager Mike McAvinue. “It’s nice seeing the luxury customer return, there seems to be a lot of pent-up demand. People understand that there’s less inventory available now and that if they want the right item in the right size, it pays to shop early. This isn’t the year to procrastinate."
Janet Cesario, mall marketing and sponsorship director, said shoppers seemed to be coming to the Mall from a wider area, not just Millburn, Maplewood, Summit, Springfield and other surrounding towns.
“Many shoppers come in from New York City to enjoy the combination of Madison Avenue, Soho, and Fifth Avenue ambience without having to hop into a subway or cab – or pay sales tax on clothes," she said.
In downtown Millburn merchants were also very happy with their Black Friday. Deborah Gilbert Smith was having a holiday sale, like most of the other merchants on Millburn Avenue. She explained, though, the "hype" surrounding the day is “mostly for people who run the kinds of business that need a big sale day to put them into the ‘black’ for the year." It’s never been a major day for her shop.
“We’re not in at 6 a.m., but treat the day like every other day with great customer service and providing a relaxing shopping setting with real customer service,” she said.
Eve Golden, of Bungalow on Main Street, agreed. “I really can’t complain, we’re having a good day today. I sent out a sale email to our customers offering 20 percent off everything in the store, and I got a great response. The sale continues through next Friday. People seem to be in a party mood and are interested in looking for dressy dresses.”
Lots of people stopped into Millburn Avenue’s newest store, Lily’s Kandy Kloudz, especially around lunch time, with 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. being the busiest time, said Donna Dill. “They were stopping in for snacks,” she said, “not really holiday shopping.”
Next door at Un De Find, owner Edy Kish said business has been very good all day. She was offering a traffic-stopping discount of 50 percent off all regularly priced merchandise. Kish said that the sale continues through Sunday.
Marylou Ortiz at Roxy said, “There have been a lot of out-of-towners in the store. I think that a lot of people around here didn’t travel for Thanksgiving, but had overnight visitors.” With a 10-25 percent sale, people were popping in and picking up the perfect pair of new shoes.