Black Friday successful for retailers

Tuesday, 02 December 2008
According to the National Retail Federation's 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey, US retailers saw their sales peak up during Black Friday (29 November). The number of shoppers that visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend was up by 25 million, rising to 172 million compared to 147 million last year. According to early estimates from the NRF research, conducted by Bigresearch, shoppers spent about 7 percent more on average this year during Black Friday weekend.

Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - is considered one of the busiest shopping days of the year and the official start of the holiday shopping season.

Most popular on the shoppers' lists were clothing and accessories, which made 50.9% of the bought goods. NRF said the increases get the country's holiday season off to energetic start - after weak third quarter sales were reported by many retailers earlier this month.

"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 chief executive officer Tracy Mullin. "Holiday sales are not expected to continue at this brisk pace, but it is encouraging that Americans seem excited to go shopping again."

However, she 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 also had their effects.

Retailers remain desperate to move inventories that are outsized in proportion to demand, and some expect consumers to take a breather after last weekend, leading to a lull in shopping that could last until a week or two before Christmas. They are also concerned about declining tourism, particularly affecting big flagship stores in gateway cities.

Friday was the busiest day of the weekend, when 73.6 million people hit stores and websites.

Image: Black Friday mania