Well, the numbers are in. And the news media continues to push the negative.
The National Retail Federation released a 2007 Black Friday Weekend Survey yesterday with some insight into the weekend. You can excerpts from the survey in a Story on CNNMoney.com. Among the key findings:
- More than 147 million shoppers hit the stores over the Black Friday weekend, up 4.8 percent from last year.
- Consumers, on average, spent an estimated $347.44 in total on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, down 3.5 percent from the previous year.
- ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, said Saturday that total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Black Friday, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago.
- 55.1 percent of shoppers visited discount stores, 38.7 percent shopped in traditional department stores, 43.2 percent hit specialty retailers for sales while 31.6 percent of shoppers went online for their gift buying.
- Clothes, books, videogames, consumer electronics and toys were the most popular purchases over the weekend.
“While last year showed a greater emphasis on high-definition televisions, this year consumers were focused on lower-priced doorbusters like digital photo frames, laptops and cashmere sweaters,” NRF CEO Tracy Mullin said in a statement.
The story also stated that “Industry analysts said retailers this year are especially challenged to drive sales in the coming weeks as many Americans struggle to find spending money amid the ongoing housing downturn and other economic pressures.”
“Though Black Friday weekend was a complete success for many retailers, the results of the holiday season won’t be determined until the last two weeks of December,” Mullin said.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
The media continues to play up the housing downturn and other economic pressures which is playing into the fears many Americans have of a recession.
In fact, this morning CNN used the “D” word or downturn, even when signals are mixed on Wall Street and abroad. We clearly are in a state of flux with some indicators pointing up, while others are pointing down. But as long as consumers continue to spend, we’ll weather the storm.
And that’s where retail comes in. I read the good news in this as this:
- More people are shopping this holiday season than last year (I’ll take 5% more shoppers at a reduction of average transaction of 3.5% any day). It’s all about total revenues.
- 4 out of 10 shoppers hit specialty retail stores last weekend
- Only 1 in 10 shoppers had completed their holiday shopping
We still have a long way to go. So keep the chin up. And wade through the negatives the media is focusing on to find the positives this holiday retail season.