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Web sales soar, but Black Friday is still the 'Super Bowl' of retail: Hudson's Bay CEO

This weekend kicks off the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. Yet with more and more people opting to buy online, and stores offering doorbuster sales earlier, does Black Friday still have the same impact it used to?

According to the National Retail Federation, over the past two years procrastinators have actually made the Saturday before Christmas the busiest shopping day of the year.

Jerry Storch, CEO of Hudson's Bay — which owns brands Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor and online retailer Gilt, among others — told CNBC's "On the Money" recently that while Black Friday may not be busiest single day, it still holds importance.

"Black Friday is still the Super Bowl of retailing," Storch said in an interview. "If you take the fact that so many retailers start on Thursday night and add Thursday night together with Friday, it's still the biggest event of the year."

Not just 'brick and mortar'

Hundreds of guests shopped for Black Friday doorbuster deals at Target at the Black Friday At Target Dadeland South In Miami at Target Dadeland South in Miami.
Gustavo Caballero | Getty Images for Target
Hundreds of guests shopped for Black Friday doorbuster deals at Target at the Black Friday At Target Dadeland South In Miami at Target Dadeland South in Miami.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans, or an estimated 137.4 million people, plan to shop this weekend, according to the NRF. This includes Thursday night through Sunday, online and in store, and those figures are up slightly from last year's 58.7 percent.

Meanwhile, online sales continue to grow during the holiday shopping season. It's expected that nearly 11 percent of sales will be from the internet, up sharply from around 7 percent just four years ago. However, Storch said the growth is not purely from web companies like Amazon.

"A lot of that growth is coming from the internet arms of bricks-and-mortar retailers," Storch said. He added, "Everybody is in on the internet."

Storch noted that companies realize shoppers buy different ways all the time, it's not just one or the other.

Consumers "might look online, decide what she wants then go to the store and get it. And you're seeing the internet only guys open up stores because they realize they need that bricks and mortar. So the world is changing, but in a way, the internet is a tool for everyone. It's very democratic," Storch told CNBC.

As for the hottest trends, Storch said he's seeing growth in athleisure and denim. He also said the off-the-shoulder style is helping in women's.

What's the most fascinating trend? Storch said its menswear.


"We say 'men is the new women' [because] men's is one of the most rapidly growing areas in all of apparel."

Overall, he is optimistic about sales for this holiday season. "All the forecasts from all the outside resources are [showing] that consumer spending is pretty good," he told CNBC.

One area Storch is a little more cautious on is luxury.

"One of the biggest factors, with the dollar so strong, international tourists are simply not coming to the Unites States anymore, so you're not seeing that, so we'll see," he said.


"On the Money" airs on CNBC Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.