Holiday Retail

Tom Arnold

Finance professor Tom Arnold is a retail expert who can comment on holiday retail trends, businesses staying open on Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping, the impact of online stores, and more.

He’s been quoted on these topics in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.

This year, Arnold says the emerging theme is "Buy it now!"

"The holiday season appears to be upon us faster than usual. Last year, it unofficially started with Amazon’s delayed Prime Day in the middle of October. The traditional start of the season, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, now seems like a relic from the past.

This year, the pandemic has created increased demand after a period of limited spending opportunities, and the consumer is ready to buy merchandise. However, supply issues from congested ports and very high shipping costs will be inflating prices and limiting the availability of inventory. Ultimately, this means if you have a specific item in mind to purchase, find it now, and buy it. It may be worth trying to compare prices from different retailers, but the traditional forces of competition reducing prices does not really apply when inventory is not plentiful.

Given the situation, my prediction is that gift cards will become even more popular this year. A gift card bypasses the need to find a specific item that has limited supply. However, it does add to future consumer demand, which still might not be satisfied in the near future given the current issues with the supply chain."  
-Tom Arnold, University of Richmond finance professor

Contact Cynthia Price (cprice2@richmond.edu), associate vice president of media and public relations, to connect with Tom Arnold.