Saturday, November 24, 2007

Strong Black Friday Sales, But a Shift Towards Cheaper Stores

From initial reports, the holiday season started off with strong sales, with a shift towards discount retailers.

The nation's retailers had a robust start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at retail outlets across the country.

According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago. ShopperTrak had expected an increase of no more than 4 percent to 5 percent. (AP 11/24/07)

The intial reports showed shoppers appeared more interested in bargains then in upsacle shopping.

With an uncertain economy, a slowdown in the housing market and high gas prices hanging over their heads, consumers flocked to discount chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, brandishing bargain-filled fliers.

In a reversal from years past, they largely bypassed more expensive retailers, including such powerhouses as Nordstrom, Coach and Abercrombie & Fitch, according to shoppers and merchants interviewed around the country (NYTimes 11/24/07).

Black Friday often sets the tone for the holiday shopping season. Perhaps, this holiday season's sales will be disappointing for retailers, as consumer cut back due to economic weaknesses.

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