Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Friends, family and a note from the President (of

November 14, 2008

With retailers worried over the prospects for the holiday season (The Commerce Department said on Friday that retail sales slumped 2.8 percent in October — the largest decline since the department’s current methodology was adopted in 1992), they are expanding their definition of friends and family.

While “Friend & Family” sales used to be special events actually reserved for the friends and family members of a retailer’s employees, today it takes little more than an e-mail address to be considered a retailer’s friend.

Right now, Gap (seen in picture above) is touting its “Friend and Family” sale. The event began yesterday and offers shoppers 30 percent off in its Gap, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Stores, and Old Navy stores. The sale ends Nov 16.

Meanwhile, Restoration Hardware is also holding a “Friends and Family Event” offering 20 percent off everything from Nov 13-16. Soma Intimates by Chico’s is touting 25 percent off “absolutely everything” for its friends and family this weekend.

Not to be left out, Macy’s is also trying to grab shoppers’ dollars with another special sale. In an e-mail message on Friday sent by Kent Anderson, the president of, the retailer is offering e-mail subscribers an extra 20 percent off their next order.

“I know that choosing where to shop for what you need can be difficult, and I want you to know how much we appreciate your business,” the e-mail states.

But will these sales draw you into the stores this weekend? Or are you waiting until Black Friday to start your holiday shopping?

(Photo: Reuters)

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