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Black Friday sales disappoint

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Black Friday sales disappoint

Slow start to holiday season has retailers worrying.

Black Friday sales this year didn’t bring much holiday cheer to retailers.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, estimated sales at both websites and stores dropped 2.9% during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend compared to last year.  Estimates sales came in at $57.4 billion.

...consumers this weekend were clearly focused on bargains.

The drop certainly wasn’t due to a lack of participation.  Approximately 2 million more shoppers took part in the traditional buying frenzy this year than last, reaching a total of approximately 141 million people.

The concern for retailers, already struggling to bolster vulnerable profit margins, is the fact that consumers this weekend were clearly focused on bargains. On average, shoppers spent $407.02 from Thursday through Sunday (planned), down from $423.55 last year, a decrease of 3.9%.

“Cold weather, unique promotions and unbeatable prices put millions of Americans in the mood to shop for holiday gifts this weekend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “With only a few weeks until the big day, retailers will continue to aggressively promote their in-store and online offerings, looking to entice today’s very budget-conscious and value-focused shopper.”  

The disappointing results indicate that retailers will have to make up for the shortcoming in a holiday shopping season already shortened by the late Thanksgiving.  The survey results also seem to confirm earlier estimates that this will be a down year for holiday sales – a problem for retailers that is especially acute given the fact that such businesses typically rack up between 20% an 40% of their annual sales during the holiday season.


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