Did you do any shopping on Black Friday?
I was up before sunset to camp out for the best deals.
I did a little shopping online.
I ran some errands, but they weren't related to holiday shopping.
Bah hambug! I didn't spend a dime.
Despite spiking fuel costs and a general economic malaise, consumers were still up bright and early last Friday to score some bargains at the nation's shopping malls and big-box retailers. Data from ShopperTrak RCT Corp. indicated that Black-Friday sales totaled $10.3 billion, an 8.3% increase from 2007. Analysts with ShopperTrak were expecting a rise of just 4% to 5%.
Bill Martin, co-founder of the research group, told MarketWatch that the Black Friday outpouring should have [retailers] breathing a sigh of relief. While Black Friday sales only account for 4.5% to 5.0% of the total holiday shopping season, they are a good bellwether for how the season will proceed.
But positive sales numbers don't necessarily mean a positive impact on retailers' bottom line. The New York Times pointed out today that many companies resorted to steep discounts to attract shoppers into the stores. The National Retail Federation calculated that the average holiday shopper spent $348 over the past weekend, down from $360 last year.
At the close of trading on Friday, Andrea Kramer took a look at some major retail chains seeing solid gains as Black Friday approached its midpoint. In today's trading, however, many retail stocks are in negative territory despite the better-than-expected news from Friday's sales front. The AMEX Retail HOLDRS Trust (RTH) has lost nearly 0.9% today amid declines from Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), Limited (LTD), Kohl's (KSS), and others.