“Black is probably the No. 1 color,” Zeller said. “It goes with everything.”
He pushed that advantage hard, slashing prices in half on all black fur merchandise. A shearling stroller fur that extends below the knee, for example, or a cashmere cape with fox trim, each of which for $1,295 any other day, sold for $650 on Friday.
And while the image of Black Friday is often a scene of mobs of shoppers stampeding for the best buy, West Hartford was, in comparison, sedate. But with conditions perfect for shopping — a bright, sunny sky and temperatures more like October than the week before December — Zeller was optimistic that downtown would draw crowds.
“The day is still young,” he said.
Black Friday, the traditional kick-off shopping day for the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which account for the busiest retail season in the year, has been losing some luster in recent years. It’s under pressure from earlier shopping pushes include Thanksgiving evening and the days before the holiday, as well as increasingly popular online shopping, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday,
Data for the retail weekend, which extends from Thanksgiving through Monday, will not be available until next week. But the National Retail Federation said in 2016 that average spending per person over the weekend had dropped slightly, to $289.19, from $299.60 the previous year.
Forty-four percent of shoppers went online and 40 percent shopped in stores, according to the survey.
Molly Hall of Hingham, Mass., is among those who prefers shopping online. The mother of three children, ages 3, 7 and 10, was shopping in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square with her husband, Grant, and youngest daughter, Maggie, while visiting family in town. Shopping from home is a lot easier than heading to a mall or downtown with the children, Hall said.
“It’s a pain to bundle them up,” she said.
Meg Casasanta of Rocky Hill bought a ring for herself and some Christmas decorations at Gift-ology, also in West Hartford, which sells jewelry and accessories. She said she typically shops online, but appreciates the “personal touch” of store shopping.
Casasanta said she had the day off from work at an ophthalmology office in Glastonbury and took advantage of the weather to shop.
“It’s beautiful today,” she said. “so why not take an opportunity to get out?”
Phoebe Rita, assistant manager of Gift-ology, said it will double up staff to accommodate more shoppers and is offering discounts of up to 70 percent. Sales with 20 percent off will extend to Dec. 30, she said.
“We always do more,” she said. “It’s still Black Friday.”