Strong Black Friday showing at Pike Place Market, crowds not at "pre-pandemic levels" yet, but getting there

This year, Seattle retailers say crowds have returned to many locations this holiday including Pike Place Market. The market was packed Friday afternoon with Black Friday shoppers. Workers say foot traffic may not be back to pre-pandemic levels yet, but it's getting there.  

"We are just about to go and eat lunch," said Black Friday shopper, William Delaney. 

"We see some Black Friday deals on the way thought they might lure us in," said Rachel Delaney, William's mom. 

The Delaney family was visiting the market on Black Friday during a holiday vacation with extended family members in the Seattle area.

"We have our eye on a few electronic things, you know, in time for Christmas maybe," said Rachel. 

 For some businesses at the market, the Black Friday kickoff comes at a good time. 

"Holiday traffic as you know in downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market and the waterfront is very important to all the retailers and the restaurants," said Piroshky Piroshky Line Manager Mary Brown.  

She says the holiday shopping season follows the end of the cruise ship season. She says during that time period, the foot traffic drops. 

Mary says many shops are offering market package promotions to attract customers this holiday and the bakery is also selling gift cards that can be used online. 

"We are seeing a lot of earlier shoppers, but it’s just slower than it usually is," said Dale Smith, Sales Associate at Totem Smokehouse. He says it remains to be seen how impactful Black Friday will be. 

"This year you know, it’s not so busy quite yet. We’ve seen kind of little spurts here and there," said Dale. "We are still kind of reeling from COVID, so things aren’t as busy as they usually are, but people are coming in and buying, you know, a lot at one time." 

Market Spokesperson Madison Bristol says events like Saturday's Magic in the Market celebration and tree lighting will also bring more shoppers in.

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"If you spend $50 at any market businesses, you will get two free wrapping paper rolls that are really cool-looking. So, a fun way for people to come shop and bring a piece of the market home with them," said Madison. "We’ve  definitely seen an increase of people returning to the markets."

Renée Sunde, President and CEO of the Washington Retail Association, says holiday retail sales are expected to be up 6% to 8% this holiday season in Washington State compared to the same time period in 2021.