Analysts at Susquehanna Financial Group hit the malls on Black Friday to determine which stores were the “haves” and the “have-nots” of footwear and apparel sales.
They ventured to the Freehold Raceway and Short Hills malls in New Jersey and Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, New York, for some in-person store checks.
The stores that fared the best were those that engaged and established connections with the consumer, said Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser. Coming out on top were Deckers Outdoors (DECK), Canada Goose (GOOS), Lululemon (LULU), and Steve Madden (SHOO).
For Poser, Lululemon was the clear standout, with heavier traffic than any other retailer visited.
“What Lulu was doing great [on Black Friday] was that the stores were well-staffed, and the service was excellent, and they were running some clearance products and seasonal products that they were promoting — but people were buying a lot of new, regular products in the midst of that,” he said.
Poser also noted Lululemon’s efficiency in handling dressing room traffic and check-out lines. “People were being held appropriately in the sitting room, and they were managing the lines to check out very well. With Lulu, it was being done through consumer engagement with the people,” he said.
Steve Madden and other boot sellers benefitted from the cold weather, the analysts noted. The trendy shoemaker’s stores — and retail partners such as Macy’s (M), Nordstrom (JWN), and DSW — held steady. He also noted that Madden’s Blondo brand is continuing to gain floor space at retail partners — and was one of the best-selling shoes on the floor at Nordstrom.
Canada Goose also had a strong Black Friday showing, particularly at the Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom in the Roosevelt Field Mall. Poser said the Canada Goose section at Bloomingdale’s was “exceptionally busy,” and the Nordstrom sold $50,000 of the winter wear, which Poser sees as an indication of the brand’s ongoing momentum.
Both retailers had to go a more promotional route to make sales, Poser said. For example, Under Armour products at Dick’s Sporting Goods were promoted with heavier discounts than the blanket 25% off that was in effect for Black Friday.
“We just noticed that the deals were being promoted more heavily than the overall promotion of the store, and they had items fielded more aggressively than Nike (NKE). So that was done to move that product, and it showed us that they had to be a little more promotional, which was a good move,” he said.
Traffic was steady at Foot Locker, Champs, and Foot Action locations. A Black Friday Yeezy drop, which virtually sold out before it hit stores, helped drive traffic. However, Champs experienced system problems, which caused delays in delivering Yeezys to customers who arrived at the store to pick up their pre-ordered pairs.
The analysts also noted that Foot Locker is facing increasing competition from JD Sports, which purchased Finish Line last year. The rebranded JD Sport stores have a fresh new look and are “receiving better allocations of marquee product, including European exclusives,” the analysts noted.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.