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Midnight Madness to Sweep The Oaks on Black Friday

The Oaks mall and participating tenants are offering customers a sleepless night of shopping with the first annual Midnight Madness shopping event on Nov. 25. The Thousand Oaks mall will open at midnight on Nov. 25, kicking off Black Friday, a day commonly known as the unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping season and one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The Midnight Madness shopping night is not a new concept among retailers. Shopping centers such as the Camarillo Premium Outlets and the Glendale Galleria have implemented the early bird tradition over the years with successful results. Other area shopping centers like the Northridge Fashion Center have given tenants the option to open at midnight. The goal among shopping centers and retailers is to drum up more business during a sluggish economy that has impacted consumer confidence and retail sales nationwide. Jennifer Ciccone, senior property manager at The Oaks, said she has high hopes the extra hours will position the mall as a one-stop shopping experience for consumers. “We want to give shoppers the opportunity to shop at The Oaks rather than anywhere else,” Ciccone said, noting the center doesn’t have specific foot-traffic targets it’s hoping to reach. Upon hearing of tenants such as Macy’s choosing to open its doors earlier this year, Tish Cabezas, senior marketing manager for Macerich, which owns The Oaks, said she saw an opportunity for the mall to follow suit. The mall’s management team also found research that revealed the midnight shopping events were becoming more commonplace in shopping centers and are driving more sales. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, the number of people who began their Black Friday shopping at midnight tripled from 3.3 percent in 2009 to 9.5 percent in 2010. Results also revealed that by 4 a.m. nearly 25 percent of Black Friday shoppers were already at the stores. Michele Rothstein, senior vice president of marketing for Simon Property Group Inc., which owns the Camarillo Premium Outlets, said the company was one of the first to have properties across its portfolio open at midnight. In the five years since implementing the tradition, the Indiana-based firm has watched Black Friday evolve beyond pure shopping, she said. While Rothstein declined to provide specific foot traffic and sales numbers, she said customer response has increased each year, with some customers flying in from across the world to get a good deal on their favorite brands and items. In catering to discerning bargain shoppers, each year Simon uses technology and social media outlets to market the late night shopping event. “That’s the fun part,” Rothstein said. “Today’s marketing environment offers us more ways to connect with customers.” Dino Chandra, owner of Cinnabon at The Oaks, said Black Friday has always been an opportunity for him to double a normal day’s sales, and he expects opening earlier will boost business even more. “Our goal is to triple our sales that day,” he said. The retail franchise, which specializes in selling baked goods and coffee, is an ideal impulse buy for Black Friday shoppers that want to “munch and shop,” Chandra said. This year, the company will run a special promotion in which it will offer 400 Cinnabon coupons to the first 400 shoppers to arrive at midnight. With local centers like the Camarillo Outlets implementing midnight openings, The Oaks is often a shopper’s second stop when opening its doors at 6 a.m., Chandra said. “Opening earlier will hopefully give customers a chance to hit only one store this year,” he said.

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