DEC. 7 I MI RETAIL I BY ZACH PHILLIPS
MI Retailers Report
Strong Holiday Kickoffs
Black Friday may be a mall and big-box retail phenomenon, but several large music product dealers reported healthy sales during this past Thanksgiving weekend.
Music & Arts and West Music each hosted Black Friday sales events. An executive at Frederick, Md.-based Music & Arts said the company’s in-store and online sales were “up nicely.” Robin Walenta, president of Coralville, Iowa-based West Music, reported record sales for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday before adding, “We think the black clouds are lifting!”
A representative of Internet and mail-order retail giant Sweetwater also said Black Friday marked the best one-day online sales in the company’s history. He added that the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based dealership topped those numbers on Cyber Monday.
INDIE RETAILERS PICK UP BUSINESS
The picture was equally sunny in several corners of independent retail. Dale’s Drum Shop of Harrisburg, Pa., had what store manager Rejjie Troup called a “very solid” Black Friday and a better Saturday. Gale Wise, Dale’s vice president, said sales were up 20 to 25 percent that day, and in a range of drum kits — not just entry-level sets.
While most MI retailers didn’t promote Black Friday sales, many still offered special deals during the Thanksgiving weekend. Minneapolis-based Schmitt Music held a musician’s doorbuster sale after 3 p.m. on Friday with low prices on a range of products, including keyboards starting at $59 and guitars at $39. The company also offered a free Hohner harmonica to the first 25 customers after 3 p.m.
“We had very good comments regarding this [doorbuster] time,” said Joerg Hermsen, Schmitt Music’s director of marketing. “People don’t like to stand in front of the doors at 4 a.m.”
Johnny Thompson of Johnny Thompson Music in Monterey Park, Calif., said he noticed a boost in afternoon business on Black Friday, even though his store didn’t host a promotion.
“We don’t do anything on Black Friday,” he said. “However, I think we did considerably better this Black Friday than the year before.”
Menzie Pittman, founder of Contemporary Music Center in Chantilly, Va., acknowledged that his company’s fourth quarter was off to a “lethargic start.” Then, he added, “That being said, I get the feeling that the worst is behind us.” MI