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As expected, Black Friday 2017 was marked by broader and deeper discounts than last year. Promotions started earlier than last year as well. Most Black Friday deals were available before Thanksgiving.

In 2016, we saw most discounts at about 20-25 percent off and styles were limited. This year there were many promotions that went as deep as 40 percent off, and many were on entire stocks instead of select styles. At retail, I saw discounts that were deeper than were advertised. The most heavily promoted sports-related categories were boots, basketball shoes, and sweatshirts.

Foot traffic was slightly better than last year, but it appeared to me that fewer people were actually buying. While I am not checking purchases made from shoppers’ phones, which have consistently been on the rise, it is likely that shoppers were reviewing products of interest in-person and then searching for the best price online.

The sports industry does not have the same doorbuster appeal as electronics; most of the sports doorbusters appeared to be in stock well into the afternoon.

Black Friday is known for being a time for major shoe releases, but all the releases of scale appear to still be in stock. In the past, those releases would have been sold out in the first few hours. Brands are putting far too many pairs of “limited” releases into the market.

All in all, it was a weaker start to Holiday 2017 for the U.S. sports industry, but given an earlier Thanksgiving this year and with almost four weeks to go before Christmas, there is opportunity for the industry to rebound from a soft Thanksgiving weekend.

Black Friday ad items of note:

  • Nike.com: 25% off clearance
  • UA.com: 30% off fleece; 40% off other key items
  • L.L. Bean: 25% off Bean boots
  • Cabela’s: 25% off Under Armour
  • Champs: 50% off Under Armour apparel
  • Dick’s: Adidas Tiro pants and Team Issue fleece, $29.98; Nike and Under Armour fleece $39.98; 40% off Adidas apparel; 25% off Nike apparel; 25% off North Face; Select shoes $39.98- 69.98, including Roshe ($59.98) and Free RN ($69.98)
  • Finish Line: Up to 40% off Nike footwear
  • Kohl’s: 25-40% off Under Armour; 25-30% off Nike
  • Olympia: 50% off Under Armour fleece; 25-35% off Nike fleece; Champion fleece, BOGO $2.99
  • Rack Room/Off Broadway: BOGO Free boots
  • Super Shoes: 25% off Nike; Skechers, Half-price

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