The BBC news hit the airwaves while many Americans were still sound asleep…”Black Friday Sales in the US Increased Significantly Despite Economic Worries.”
The good news?
Black Friday sales increased by 8.3% compared to 2006 with more than 147 million shoppers purchasing $10 billion of worth of stocking stuffers…nearly 7 million more shoppers hitting the aisles on Friday compared to last year!
With all the gloom & doom and roller coast ups & downs of the last couple of months, you would think that Wall Street would resemble Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras!
But no…the CNBC ticker-flickers have been wringing their hands over the statistic that the average sales ticket was down 3.6% from a year ago. In actual dollars and cents, shoppers spent $12.60 less this past Friday than last year.
Maybe they spent it on the gas now selling over $3.25 per gallon driving from one store to the next to find the best deal?
But talk about naysayers…
The headline on CNBC.com…”Happy Holidays. Recession Worries on the Rise.” Their opening line… “The holiday season is here. A recession may not be far behind.”
I might be hooked on “oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh…", but hey!...maybe I am just a consumer cultural optimist!
On 11/1/07…CNN Money reports… “World's largest retailer, anxious to capture holiday sales early on, plans to offer a $348 laptop computer and a 50-inch plasma HDTV for $998.”
Twelve days later…CNN Money reports… “Wal*Mart sales posted better than expected earnings.”
Could it be that shoppers are getting wiser? Could it be that they actually compare prices on the web? Could it be that toys made in China are selling cheaper this year? Could it be that retailers are responding to the consumer voice that enough is enough and we will set market prices not you!
Could it be that the economic business model might be changing?
A good friend of mine called me on Thanksgiving Day to wish me holiday cheer. I asked him if he was cooking up the turkey. He replied, “no!”…he and his friends got tired of the same-old-same-old and instead, they were cooking up some Cajun shrimp and red beans and rice. They also planned on little-to-no-left-overs!
Maybe…just maybe…the marketplace is telling us something that the Holiday cheer is really all about!
Postscript Addition – Hey…the Tuesday edition of USA Today reports that Internet Sales on Wired Monday were up more than 30% over a year ago!
Knock Knock Wall Street…Who’s There?!!!