Black Fri­day ‘a dis­as­ter’

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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