Even before Black Friday officially turned into a holiday, some people tried to get a jump on the action by stocking up early on everything from gifts to food staples, then stacking up as many bags as possible in the car to get to the biggest shopping event of the year. So far, that has worked out pretty well for people in Chicago. Thanks to the traffic along the Midway Airport area and local streets, the congestion on the key thoroughfare leading to Wacker Drive will reportedly be at its highest levels ever this Black Friday. So far, there’s nothing a bridge or toll road can do about it.
#chicago right now like a madhouse! In order to get to any Wacker 7 inch city limits, you have to exit from 90th Street! @ABC7Chicago #BlackFriday pic.twitter.com/CKbq2Uf2E7 — Dawn Jennings (@dawnjennings) October 12, 2018
But the real problem was that many would-be shoppers were leaving after Friday to go straight home, getting back to work on Monday (thus missing that big Black Friday discount). According to a Crain’s report, Chicago lagged far behind the rest of the country for the first three quarters of the year in total spending on Black Friday itself, but overall consumer spending is expected to climb again this year. That’s because people began hoarding necessities like food and goods they would have never thought about buying anyway over the course of 2018, and according to a recent Saks Fifth Avenue survey, another increase in housing purchases among key cogs of the American economy.
The three main factors cited for this apparent hoarding included a shakeout in the retail industry (some independent shops are closing or moving out of business), the rise of online shopping (taking away a front-row seat for the Black Friday sales), and the economic uncertainty that was growing due to problems in the stock market, less money being made in Hollywood, and the confusion it created among consumers over whether the government was actually still in business.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Black Friday ultimately turns out this year, particularly after the major store chains including Sears, Toys R Us, and Macy’s all announced they would be closing more than 30 stores each this holiday season. On top of that, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index showed its first dip in three months to its lowest level in seven years, indicating that consumers were expecting lower prices and lower profits at the malls during the coming year. But the latest retail results revealed in Black Friday’s long history will likely be unaffected.
UPDATE: Chicago traffic isn’t unusual on Black Friday. But it has been reported that the rush is so heavy that crews will have to close down a stretch of Wacker Drive at 11:45 a.m. ET on Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
See Friday morning where we’ll be checking in as to whether or not it is ever truly normal to not move in this city. pic.twitter.com/9lwBkbv9Rx — JE Blackman (@jeblackman) October 12, 2018
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