Holiday Shopping. So, Was Black Friday Successful?

December 1, 2008 • Shopping


Thank goodness it’s not all doom and gloom. It looks like coal will not be in everyone’s stockings this year! Retailers went into Black Friday weekend with low expectations and came
out with a sense of relief (except for the Wal-Mart tragedy where someone was killed…no sale is worth that!). The traffic arrived, thanks to
unprecedented markdowns that will take a big bite out of fourth-quarter

Outlets and discounters, which staged the biggest
bargains on designer clothes and electronics, were busiest, though
executives from department stores and specialty chains contacted Sunday
said they were also pleased by the turnout.

“Some of us
were wondering whether shoppers would come out at all,” said one retail
chief executive to WWD who requested anonymity.

“I went to lots
of stores and there was clearly a lot of traffic in malls and outlet
centers,” said Steven I. Sadove, Saks Fifth Avenue’s chairman and ceo.
“Customers were shopping for deals. If you had sharp price points, you
were seeing volume.”

More than 172 million shoppers
visited stores and Web sites over Black Friday Blackfriday_lordandtaylor
weekend, up from 147
million shoppers last year, according to the National Retail
Federation’s 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey of 3,370 consumers,
conducted by BIGresearch. Shoppers spent an average of $372.57 last
weekend, up 7.2 percent over last year’s $347.55. Total spending
reached an estimated $41 billion (in a survey conducted November 27 to

“Pent-up demand on electronics and clothing, plus
unparalleled bargains on this season’s hottest items helped drive
shopping all weekend,” said NRF president and ceo Tracy Mullin.

NRF president and ceo Tracy Mullin warned that, in light of the recession, “holiday sales are
not expected to continue at this brisk pace, but it is encouraging that
Americans seem excited to go shopping again.” Declining gas prices
didn’t hurt either.

Further bad news is
expected to arrive on Thursday, when major retailers report November
comparable-store sales. Comparisons to last year won’t be pretty
because stores were handicapped by Thanksgiving falling five days later
this year than last, meaning there were fewer big shopping days in
November. However, the shortfall could be made up in December and
retailers warn not to read too much into the November results. A truer
read of the season would come from examining the combined sales of both

Read more "Black Friday Traffic Strong, at Margins’ Expense" here.

Photos: WWD



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