Black Friday ‘a disaster’
The National Retail Federation (NRF), an association that represents the largest retailers in the U.S., reported that the Black Friday weekend was a disaster. The information bodes poorly for the balance of the holiday, one in which many weak retailers needed to post strong earnings to remain viable. And temporary workers hired by retailers and who hoped for full-time employment are in trouble.
According to the NRF, early holiday promotions, the continued growth of online shopping, and an improving economy changed the way millions of people approached the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Overall shopper traffic from Thanksgiving Day to Sunday, November 30 dropped 5.2% from 2013 (133.7 mln unique holiday shoppers versus 141.1 mln in 2013). Total shopping, including multiple trips by the same shopper, was also down to 233.3 mln versus 248.6 mln.
According to the survey, the average person spent $380.95, down 6.4% from $407.02 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $50.9 bln, down from last year’s $57.4 bln. In other words, even people who shopped were stingy. The amount spent per person is another reflection about whether Americans are optimistic about the economy. Despite improvement in the jobs picture, people remain anxious.
Holiday shoppers weren’t only in stores on Thanksgiving, they were also online, though it seems early online promotions before the big weekend may have taken some of consumers’ spending power with them. According to the survey the average person who shopped over the weekend spent $159.55 online, approximately 41.9% of their total average budget, down 10.2% from $177.67 last year.
While healthy retailers like Amazon.com and Macy’s may be hurt by the drop, some retailers may barely survive it. Sears and J.C. Penney needed a holiday season in which a rising tide lifted all boats.