Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday: More Pessimistic Views

by Bill McBride on 11/30/2008 02:59:00 PM

Some anecdotes from the Financial Times: Black Friday sales suggest longer stay in red (hat tip Mark)

[B]y FAO Schwarz, the queue stretched half way along the toy store. “Usually it’s all the way around the block,” said Ariel, manning a stand selling fluorescent paintings of nearby landmarks, who estimated his own sales were down 70 per cent.
The thin crowds allowed tourists to take photographs of each other posing in front of Tiffany & Co’s fir-lined windows and Bergdorf Goodman’s display of boxing polar bears without the inconvenience of having to wait for other shoppers to pass. Tiffany’s main floor was unusually calm.

Janet Hoffman, managing partner at Accenture’s North American retail consultancy, said that initial reports from around the country suggested that shoppers were focusing on basic items rather than luxuries, and were hunting out discounts.
And from Reuters: US holiday sales view still weak after weekend rush (hat tip Joshua)
[A]n early rush to stores was ... not likely to change a weak outlook for the season, analysts said on Sunday.

Early results from the Black Friday weekend, which begins one day after U.S. Thanksgiving, showed that sales grew both in stores and online.
[Richard Hastings, a consumer strategist with Global Hunter Securities LLC] still expects total retail sales over the holiday period of November, December and January to fall 6 percent to 8 percent from last year.