retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The National Retail Federation (NRF) says that over the just-passed Black Friday weekend - the post-Thanksgiving, traditional beginning of the end-of-year holiday shopping season - both sales and traffic were up over a year ago.

According to NRF, “212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 195 million last year. People also spent more, with the average shopper this weekend spending $365.34, up from last year’s $343.31. Total spending reached an estimated $45.0 billion.”

In addition, “the number of people who began their Black Friday shopping at midnight tripled this year from 3.3 percent last year to 9.5 percent in 2010. In fact, by 4 a.m. nearly one-fourth (24.0%) of Black Friday shoppers were already at the stores. Thanksgiving Day openings have also been a boon to the industry, as the number of people who shop on Thanksgiving – both online and in stores - has doubled over the past five years, from 10.3 million in 2005 to 22.3 million in 2010.” Online sales on Thanksgiving reportedly increased 28 percent from last year to $407 million.

As a possible indication that recessionary concerns may be receding, NRF notes that “both department stores (52.0% this year vs. 49.4% last year) and clothing stores (24.4% vs. 22.9%) saw healthy increases in traffic, while the percentage of people who shopped at discounters declined 7.2 percent, from 43.2 percent last year to 40.3 percent this year.”

“While Black Friday weekend is not always an indicator of holiday season performance, retailers should be encouraged that a focus on value and discretionary gifts has shoppers in the spirit to spend,” said Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO.
KC's View:
Hardly a scientific analysis, but Mrs. Content Guy and I both had the impression as we walked around downtown Chicago this weekend that the streets and stores were more crowded. It was her impression that there were a lot of people shopping but not necessarily carrying shopping bags, which reinforces the notion that a lot of people will be waiting for a few weeks to see what sales might be available as we get closer to Christmas.