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Black Friday, Small Business Saturday sales rise at LI stores

Black Friday shoppers at Green Acres Mall in

Black Friday shoppers at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream on Nov. 24, 2017. Credit: Corey Sipkin

While national statistics show in-store sales slipped slightly on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, smaller brick-and-mortar retailers on Long Island said sales were up from 2016.

U.S. brick-and-mortar retail traffic slipped 1 percent, year over year, on Black Friday, according to early estimates from ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based analytics firm. RetailNext, another analytics firm, said in-store foot traffic between Thanksgiving and Saturday was down closer to 3 percent from last year.

Meanwhile online sales on Black Friday rose by nearly 17 percent to $5 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, the research arm of software maker Adobe. Shoppers were expected to spend another $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday, up more than 16 percent from a year ago, Adobe said.

But some smaller Long Island brick-and-mortar businesses said Monday that their sales over the holiday weekend were up from last year.

“As soon as Thanksiving is over, people seem to go into holiday shopping mode,” said Brian Drucker, the owner of Cow Over the Moon, a 23-year-old toy store in Huntington that also specializes in sports memorabilia. “We’ve had people come for years, but we have also had people come in after visiting Huntington for the first time.”

Drucker added that sports memorablia sales have been lifted by Aaron Judge, the Yankees star who was named the American League’s rookie of the year.

“He is the hottest thing I have seen in sports,” Drucker said. “When he won the home run derby, I couldn’t keep items in the store, and his popularity has continued.”

Smithtown-based Fourth World Comics also said sales were up because “people seem to be confident in the economy and comics are cool again,” said Terence Fischette, the store’s manager.

Mom-and-pop stores throughout Long Island are less impacted by the growth of online sales because they’ve established long-term relationships with customers, said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for the NPD Group in Port Washington.

“They’re able to out-service and out-relationship online competitors,” Cohen said. “The local locations of a national retailer can’t do that.”

But challenges remain, Fischette said, adding that online businesses such as take a bite out of their business.

“Sometimes Amazon charges less than what we pay for an item, so that’s tough,” he said. “But we are still up. Comic book fans travel, and they’re coming from as far away as Brooklyn and Queens.”

Fischette added that Fourth World increased its weekend sales without offering aggressive discounts.

“We don’t want to hold sales at the same time as the big guys,” he said, adding that the store will offer storewide discounts in mid-December.

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