Record Turnout at Polls May Mean Slow Sales Day

Nov 02, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Many are predicting that voters will turn out in record numbers for today’s presidential election and, while many retailers have done their utmost to achieve this goal (see RW
– Retailers Get Out the Vote
), it may mean a very slow sales day for store and e-commerce sites.

Even though most have modest expectations for business today, retailers are still trying to find ways to draw customers into the store, often going beyond the typical election day sales event.

Wal-Mart plans to broadcast Fox News’ coverage of the election to keep shoppers and employees informed as polling results come in.

Some, such as Wendy Liebmann, president of WSL Strategic Retail, wonder if Wal-Mart is not signaling its support of Republican Party candidates with its choice of Fox News.

“Most retailers tend to keep political affiliations to themselves,” she told USA Today.

Wal-Mart spokesperson Gus Whitcomb said the chain is broadcasting the coverage arranged by Premier Retail Networks, the largest in-store TV network in the U.S., and that is as far as it goes.

Macy’s is opening its doors one hour earlier today hoping to catch people who cast their vote as polls open.

Moderator’s Comment: Will Election Day impede retail sales? If you’re running a store, what approach do you take
to business today?

The Internet auction giant, eBay, has a decidedly more relaxed approach to Election Day. Company spokesperson, Hani Durzy, said sales will probably be down,
however, “We expect a bounce-back to make up for what was lost.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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