More than 1,500 stores in Jalisco took part in the long holiday weekend shopping bonanza from November 18 to 21. According to preliminary business chamber estimates, participating outlets reported overall sales increasing by 25 percent in the Guadalajara metropolitan area (40 percent in malls) and 15 percent in the provinces.
Some shoppers, however, expressed disappointment at the range of discounts available, which mostly fluctuated between 10 and 15 percent and were only available on selected items.“The (deals) don’t seem to be that different than the ones they often advertise at other times of the year,” complained one teen-age shopper at Best Buy in Plaza Galerias.
Miguel Alfaro, president of the Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce, admitted there weren’t as many discounts as expected but said retailers had insufficient time to hammer out deals with suppliers prior to the weekend.
The biggest traffic was seen at major retailers in metro-area malls. Sunday afternoon lines at checkouts at Best Buy were ten deep, with a large proportion of customers purchasing discounted flat-screen plasma or LCD televisions.
Many shoppers took advantage of the deals to get a head start on seasonal shopping – something that may backfire on retailers in the weeks prior to Christmas if sales turn out to be sluggish.
Twelve banks also took part in the promotion, offering interest-free credit card terms from three to 40 months. Seventy percent of all sales at stores in malls were done by credit card, according to Alfaro.
Mexico’s Economy Secretary Bruno Ferrari said El Buen Fin had been a success and rejected concerns that many Mexicans will have gotten themselves into debt they cannot afford and that the country’s traditional “cuesta de enero” (literally January’s financial burden for families, usually associated with turn-of-the-year price hikes) will hit earlier this year, sometime in December.
Commerce chambers across the country will asses the results of El Buen Fin before deciding whether to make it an annual occurrence. It will take several years before Mexico can boast an exact Black Friday equivalent, since seasonal discounting has a much longer history in the United States and is a more widely studied science, noted Vicente Yañez, president of the National Association of Supermarkets and Department Stores (ANTAD).