Very Early Black Friday Indications Promising


Below is wire story saying early indications are that Black Friday shoppers let loose of their wallets a touch, compared to dismal last year. On Sunday, I’ll be participating in a media teleconference with the National Retail Federation, and I’ll let you know more then. They’re crunching the numbers now.

Rachel Pritchett, reporter

Early indicators of Black Friday sales promising
CHICAGO (AP) — Shoppers returned to malls Saturday as observers began reviewing early reports showing just how much consumers spent during their Black Friday shopping sprees.
The weekend’s first definitive spending data for the day after Thanksgiving wasn’t expected until later in the day when the research firm ShopperTrak RTC Corp. reports sales and traffic at more than 50,000 stores.
Friday’s anecdotal reports showed bigger crowds at stores as shoppers appeared to buy more than last year, while even buying some items for themselves such as coats and comforters.
There were fresh signs of strong online sales for the day. Web marketing analyst Coremetrics said its data showed the average amount online shoppers spent on Black Friday rose 35 percent as shoppers spent roughly $170.19 per order — up from $126.04 last year.
The San Mateo, Calif. company also said Web shoppers also bought more items with each purchase.
Both Web-only and traditional marketers beefed up their online discounting for the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.
Executives at J.C. Penney Co. said their day after Thanksgiving business in stores was “strong” nationwide as shoppers snatched up doorbusters.
However, officials at the department store chain, which did not provide specific information about this year’s business compared with last year, also cautioned that one weekend’s performance wasn’t enough to predict how the rest of the holiday season would fare.
While it’s not a surefire predictor of holiday sales, Black Friday is still an important barometer of people’s willingness to spend during the holidays — vital weeks for merchants nationwide.
QVC Inc., which markets products on television and online, said its Black Friday sales totaled $32 million — up almost 60 percent from last year, thanks to its first-ever push to promote its post-Thanksgiving deals.
Many shoppers were still cautious during during Friday’s massive markdowns.
Jude Leeper, 49, of Hanover, Pa., said the influence of the bad economy means she’s still counting her pennies this year.
“I know what they want, but I’ve been looking for a deal to make sure I get a good price,” she said while shopping Friday at Towson Town Center mall in Towson, Md. “I’m going to buy that gift that I know is going to get used, not stuffed in a closet.”

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