Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Black Friday Bust?

Well, despite the claims from the National Retail Federation that Black Friday sales were up 9%, other data shows that sales were up a mere 0.3% on Black Friday despite the constant news coverage of fools lined up outside of Target to score a TV that was cheaper online in October :)

Here's what we do know - it really doesn't matter. Incremental holiday shopping is a blip on the radar in our $14 trillion economy. Holiday sales have been within a few billion dollars of $500 for the last three years. They go up some years and down the next but the change doesn't really have an impact on our economy. This however, won't stop the steady flow of stories on the strength or weakness of the holiday season.

I'll offer my take on the holiday season - so far the deals have been really underwhelming and that's keeping many shoppers on the sideline (Canadians excluded). Due to the late Thanksgiving, we really only have 3 shopping weekends (as opposed to the normal 4 weekends) to go until Xmas so we should have seen a much stronger Black Friday than last year.

A final note on Cybermonday - Apparently retailers think it is still 1995 because they are holding off their "best online deals" until Monday when we all go back to work where we have high speed internet. Back in realityville, we all have high speed internet at home these days and if CyberMonday was anything other than a marketing gimmick the real deals would have shown up this weekend (I've seen most of the "deals" previewed online and they are even more underwhelming than the Black Friday ads).

For upcoming week there are plenty of interesting story lines to capture the market's attention - the Irish bailout (The Irish citizens are getting raked over the coals to bailout their banks and the banks' investors), the Korean skirmish (my take: this was N. Korea's way of saying "it's winter and we need food" while S. Korea's response will be "How much would you like?"), and some wacky end of week trading last week that might cause some issues this week.


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