"I Was Expecting Many More People": Black Friday Tumbles To 3rd Spot In Busiest Shopping Days Of The Year

Tyler Durden's picture

It has been an odd year for retail: with an estimated 6,000 store closures, and 65,000 fewer retail jobs than at the start of the year, many have said shorting retail, and especially malls, is the next "big short" trade. Indeed, one look at the performance of the mall heavy CMBX 6 BBB- tranche confirms that the bottom has fallen out of the legacy "bricks and mortar" space.

And yet, despite what should be a furious race to the bottom for market share by all still solvent non-Amazon retailers, this has not happened in what appears to be a strange manifestation of rational pricing. In fact, according to Market Track, last year the discounts were 6% deeper than this year across 17 categories in Black Friday circulars, the WSJ reports, and notes that only three of 10 major retailers the firm measured had better prices this year.

This was obvious to potential buyers like Delaney Dauchy, 15, who was shopping with her mother at a mall in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and told the WSJ that the deals aren’t as good this year. She recalled a seven-for-$28 deal on underwear at Victoria’s Secret last year; this year, she said it was five-for-$28. The Dauchys said there were smaller crowds than past years and Black Friday deals have been going on all week. “I’m not sure it seems extra special,” Anne Dauchy, 47, said.

To be sure, there are still deals to be had: on Friday, retailers dangled the usual promotions, many of which were identical to last year, including 30% off at Coach and 50% off at the Gap. By Thanksgiving Day, shoppers were already taking advantage of the bargains. Kevin Krause, 27, was first in line waiting outside the Kohl’s store in Medford, Ore., Thanksgiving afternoon. The store opened its doors at 5 p.m., but by 3:15 there was already a line forming.

However, as the WSJ confirmed, lines at many other locations were far shorter - if present at all - compared to prior years, such as this Best Buy at the Fair Lakes Shopping Center in Fairfax Country, VA, where there was virtually no excitement opened this years, especially when compared to 2011.

Then (in 2011)...

... and now.

A similar comparison with Macy's, which the WSJ compares between 2011 and now. The difference is self-explanatory.

Naturally, in light of the smaller bargains, the lack of shopper euphoria is understandable: yet what is surprising is why there aren't bigger bargains? After all, neither the industry, nor the economy has turned on a dime. Speculating on the reason, the WSJ writes that "even as this year has proved one of the most challenging for retailers, analysts are predicting robust holiday sales, underpinned by rising wages, low unemployment and strong consumer confidence."

What rising wages? Aside from various "soft" surveys, and management expectations, wage growth remains abysmal, and real wage growth has been negative for three months!

What the WSJ probably means is that between near record low personal savings and a surge in credit card usage, Americans are spending like there's no tomorrow... they are just not spending their own money.

Anyway, the always optimistic National Retail Federation expects sales to increase as much as 4%, to $682 billion in November and December, compared with the same period a year ago, which would make it the strongest season since 2014. The delusion about US households' spending power continued: "I’d be fully expecting people to be thinking about spending more, not be holding back as much as in the past,” said Andrew Duguay, a senior economist at Prevedere, a predictive analytics company.

Spending more of what?  Here is America's savings rate: unfortunately people don't have "more" to spend... 

And yet, maybe the NRF is on to something. In an interview with the WSJ earlier this week, Neiman Marcus Group CEO Karen Katz attributed a jump in the luxury retailer’s gross margin in the latest quarter to stronger full-priced sales. “We’ve gotten our inventory in perfect alignment with our sales,” Katz said.

That could change in the days leading up to Christmas. Shoppers have been trained to wait for deals—a practice made easier by online price comparisons. If they hold off on making purchases, retailers will likely slash prices more than planned as the season progresses.

To be sure, the lack of deals now may mean even greater discounts in the coming months:

In a Long Island, N.Y., Wal-Mart Thursday evening, Andre Valadas said it had been hard to snag one of the discounted Sharp TVs being sold at the store or at a Best Buy across the parking lot, but glanced at his phone often to text with friends nearby looking for a similar deal.


The 34-year-old software engineer expects prices to fall further. “I hope that if they don’t have deals right now they will have a them in a few weeks closer to Christmas,” Mr. Valadas said.


Retailers still have to contend with headwinds that include a shift in consumer spending away from apparel and accessories and toward dining, travel and entertainment, as well as the explosive growth in online sales.

The above is bad news for bricks and mortar retailers, who may have gotten a brief reprieve only to lose even more customers to online alternatives like Amazon.

And speaking of, Adobe Systems said online sales on Thanksgiving increased 17% as of 5 p.m. to $1.52 billion. It also expects online sales to increase 14% to $107.4 billion during the November-December period, compared with the previous year. Amazon said Thanksgiving was one of its biggest mobile shopping days, as orders placed through its app increased 50% over last year. Best selling items included Keurig coffee makers and its Echo speaker devices.

Indeed, no matter what happens to traditional retail, Amazon is likely to be winner. The online retailer, whose stock hit another all time high, is expecting a big Black Friday as more shoppers choose to skip the stores.

“If you go back to the creation of Black Friday, it was this amazing opportunity for customers to get great deals,” said Dorion Carroll, vice president of mobile shopping at Amazon, in an interview earlier this week. “So they would flock to the stores and all of that would be great, until it wasn’t. It got too crowded.”

In fact, it may come as a surprise to some, that Black Friday is no longer the busiest shopping day of the year. It ranks No. 3, behind the Saturday before Christmas and Cyber Monday, according to the consulting firm Customer Growth Partners.

Several dozen people still gathered in line early Friday morning to be the first inside a Target store in Houston when it opened at 6 a.m., though some said the crowds were notably smaller than years past. Once inside, shoppers like Freddy Cespedes, 42, owner of a small security company, found the best advertised stuff was already picked over the night before.

“I was expecting a lot more people,” said the Black Friday novice though he acknowledged he, like many people nowadays, primarily shops online.

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Chupacabra-322's picture

Expecting more people or expecting g more fights?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So what's the killer app or toy this year?

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Chupacabra-322's picture

“Thanksgiving Day, shoppers were already taking advantage of the bargains. Kevin Krause, 27, was first in line waiting outside the Kohl’s store in Medford, Ore., Thanksgiving afternoon. The store opened its doors at 5 p.m., but by 3:15 there was already a line forming.”

If these degenerate losers would put as much effort & due diligence as they do fighting & fretting over their Material Debt. We would not be experiencing the

Tyrannical Lawlessness

we find ourselves in.

bigdumbnugly's picture

bueller here.

i think it's Saudi Prince Pinatas.

bigdumbnugly's picture


they've got oil coming out of their ears.

Muddy1's picture

beat them until they've got oil coming out of their ears.

there, fixed it

Bes's picture

trump saudi sword dancing action figure coming soon

glowing orb sold seperately*

*batteries not included


Escrava Isaura's picture

Yes. Trump is killing this economy.

I just checked going to Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia from DC and it said light traffic, 32 minutes. I was expecting to take closer to 1 hour.


847328_3527's picture

One clothing store near me yesterday WAS a madhouse. I went by to check it out and the line was literally wrapped around the back of the store.

Demographics showed about half Indians, 20% crackers, 20% Mesicans and about 10% white trash and dindus.

The bright spot was they actually played Christmas music! Even freaking Silent Night!!

I had to ask the black manager, whom I happen to know from my Church, if he was allowed to play infidel music like that since Obama banned Christmas stuff like trees in the VA and Nativity scenes at public schools and gubmint buildings.

His response was swift and very to the point: "Screw Obama; this is a Christian nation and I'm going to play what I want!"

Put a smile on my face and i told him I'd see him on Sunday.

There is hope left in our country!

Son of Loki's picture

Obama is muzlim so he don't like Christmas.

That's why he refuses to say, "islamic terrorists" and hates Christians and Jews.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Well, here’s the flaw of your ‘religious’ argument.

Nine million children die every year before they reach the age of five. Picture an Asian tsunami of the sort we saw in 2004, that killed a quarter of a million people. One of those, every ten days, killing children only under five. That’s 24,000 children a day, a thousand an hour, 17 or so a minute. That means before I can get to the end of this sentence, some few children, very likely, will have died in terror and agony. Think of the parents of these children. Think of the fact that most of these men and women believe in God, and are praying at this moment for their children to be spared. And their prayers will not be answered. But according to Dr. Craig, this is all part of God’s plan. Any God who would allow children by the millions to suffer and die in this way, and their parents to grieve in this way, either can do nothing to help them, or doesn’t care to. He is therefore either impotent or evil.

And worse than that, on Dr. Craig’s view, most of these people—–many of these people, certainly—–will be going to Hell because they’re praying to the wrong God. Just think about that. Through no fault of their own, they were born into the wrong culture, where they got the wrong theology, and they missed the revelation. There are 1.2 billion people in India at this moment. Most of them are Hindus, most of them therefore are polytheists. In Dr. Craig’s universe, no matter how good these people are, they are doomed. If you are praying to the Monkey God Hanuman, you are doomed. You’ll be tortured in Hell for eternity. Now, is there the slightest evidence for this? No. It just says so in Mark 9, and Matthew 13, and Revelation 14. Perhaps you’ll remember from The Lord of the Rings, it says when the elves die, they go to Valinor, but they can be reborn in Middle Earth. I say that just as a point of comparison.

So God created the cultural isolation of the Hindus. He engineered the circumstance of their deaths in ignorance of revelation, and then he created the penalty for this ignorance, which is an eternity of conscious torment in fire. On the other hand, on Dr. Craig’s account, your run-of-the-mill serial killer in America, who spent his life raping and torturing children, need only come to God, come to Jesus, on death row, and after a final meal of fried chicken, he’s going to spend an eternity in Heaven after death. One thing should be crystal clear to you: This vision of life has absolutely nothing to do with moral accountability.

Please notice the double standard that people like Dr. Craig use to exonerate God from all this evil. We’re told that God is loving, and kind, and just, and intrinsically good. But when someone like myself points out the rather obvious and compelling evidence that God is cruel and unjust, because he visits suffering on innocent people, of a scope and scale that would embarrass the most ambitious psychopath, we’re told that God is “mysterious”. “Who can understand God’s will?” And yet, this is precisely—this “merely human” understanding of God’s will— is precisely what believers use to establish his goodness in the first place. You know, something good happens to a Christian, he feels some bliss while praying, say, or he sees some positive change in his life, and we’re told that God is good. But when children by the tens of thousands are torn from their parents’ arms and drowned, we’re told that God is mysterious. This is how you play tennis without the net.

Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/i...


JimmyJones's picture

Make as much of the gifts you may choose to give yourself,  together we can collapse the system.

pigpen's picture

Cog, big fan since the early days of the hedge. No killer app this season but best new app is brave browser.

Blocks advertising, tracking and malware by DEFAULT on any device and operating system.

It is my personal FU to the digital monopolies goobook.

What is value of advertising if they can't serve an ad, I don't view the ad and they can't track me across the web while I surf.

Happy holidays,


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

This is the first I am hearing of this. Thank you for the heads up. I am researching now.

We have really poor internet up here on the mountain. I mean REALLY poor. And the pages take forever to load because of the ads. While I use ad blocking software, not all websites work well with the software.


pigpen's picture

Cog, it is fantastic and I run all social media out of brave browser. You will be amazed at how much data esp auto video advertising take up and slow down site loading.

I'm reaching out to all people who have digital mouthpieces to start movement to destroy the goobook spying digital advertising monopolies.

If every citizen can change their browser they can easily break these companies. Also brave blocks by DEFAULT.

Peter Thiel has funded the company and I think time is right for citizen revolt against monopolies who mine our data yet don't share the profits.

Try brave on the worst offenders of ad loading - Huffington post, fortune and Forbes.

It will blow your mind.



Endgame Napoleon's picture

Hmmm, Peter Thiel funded it. I will try it for a second browser.

ParticularlyStupidHumanoid's picture

Brave is garbage. Don't touch that rubbish. It's yet another case of Google's "do no evil," which means "we're lying scumbags."

tmosley's picture

Seems like it is big screen TVs and PS4/Xboxes this year.

dark pools of soros's picture

you can get better shit trolling your neighborhood on trash day

blueskyranch's picture

Head to Goodwill in January or February for lots of this stuff donated still in original boxes. No kidding. The gift that keeps on giving...

serotonindumptruck's picture

Goodwill and many other thrift stores now have people whose only job is to check the value on donated items.

The really good stuff never makes it to the sales room floor. It is either immediately listed on eBay or a manager gets first dibs.

You're not going to find too many awesome deals at your local Goodwill.

sunshine_units's picture

That all depends.

I know someone who does quite well shopping at Goodwill....

....and then listing their finds on eBay!

Bemused Observer's picture

And I'll bet they pay those value-checkers minimum wage, and their job consists of checking Ebay for similar items. I bought a pair of 19th century English sterling bon bons at a Goodwill several years ago, paid 5 dollars for the pair. They're worth about 1200 dollars.

Ooops, somebody missed that one...:-)

Scornd's picture

TVs are only good for target practice.

I need a GOD DAMN HOUSE not a fucking flatscreen.

tmosley's picture

At the rate they are coming down, you might wind up being better off just building your house out of them.

About 20x the price of a sheet of plywood now. The best BF deal I saw had it around 12x.

Scornd's picture

According to this article, The only people spending money are 15 olds and their 35 year old welfare moms.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

Most people have only low and unreliable, earned-only income streams, increasingly from part-time and temp jobs. When they can call any job a job, even if it is just a one-hour-per-week job, we are not at full employment. When they call nearly invisible wage increases wage hikes, they are just desperate to sell the economy as good. When 43 million people get EBT because they cannot cover groceries on their pay, much less their rent, they are not really enployed in any countable way.

IronForge's picture

Holiday Shopping Deals started Online and at Brick and Mortar earlier in the Week.  

AMZN pretty much forced every Retailer to offer Online Deals.

People, for once, are enjoying or resting on Thanksgiving Day.

Black Friday is simply now the first Calendar Shopping Day of the Holiday Season - not much of a need to  Camp Overnight or Rush in as a mob.

JimmyJones's picture

Well Amazon.com and the fact that one particular group that is considered a minority makes the experience pretty much horrible for all other groups.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

It is not one group; it is the cumulative number of humans on the road and shoving for goods that make it miserable.

yellowsub's picture

It seems areas where using cash (poor credit or no credit) is where the long lines and fights are at...

Robert Trip's picture

It's usually the uncouth, unwashed, ill-mannered and impolite rabble that shop on Black Friday.

And why not White Friday instead of Black Friday?

JimmyJones's picture

Look man they got that one and MLK day, do you really want to take that away from them?

sunshine_units's picture

Maybe it's an accounting term that is the opposite of RED FRIDAY, as in red ink on the P & L statement?

Maybe not, though.  Even though veteran retail workers have said that for years - decades even! - it's probably just a myth and you can go on being jealous of ink colors.

But hey, white ink shows up so much better on WHITE PAPER.

So yeah, we can go with White Friday if that will make you feel better....

Wile-E-Coyote's picture

Ten yrs of zero wage growth WTF do they expect.

BF has been a flop in the UK as well, internet sales down 24% compared to last yr. People are skint!!

Robert Trip's picture

Too many Blacks shoving and pushing to get a deal.

Not Robert's kind of crowd.

JimmyJones's picture

Have you ever heard any group say "oh nice more of those people are moving in" it's not any ones crowd other then their own. No other group enjoys their company. They try to group the Hispanics with them but anyone that has a Hispanic friends / family hears the same thing. Same goes for the Asians except if they had it their way ethnic cleansing would of started yesterday.  I'm not joking the Asians freaking hate them and make any of today's White Supremacist look like Gandhi. 

HedgeJunkie's picture

17 year old shopping for racy underwear at Victoria’s Secret, with her mother says all that is necessary about ‘values’.

Dontblamethegoat's picture

... actually, 15 years old ... and she was recalling a deal last year, when she was 14 ...

BeerMe's picture

Is Victoria's Secret actually racy?  If I was them I'd be selling to young ones too.  Then you make a long time customer.

_SILENCER's picture

Ammo deals all over the net today.

Just sayin'.

Ajax-1's picture

Who has the best deal on .223 ammo?

ParticularlyStupidHumanoid's picture

No gun deals yet. All are trash. All the deals this year are trash, and I'm not complaining - I'm keeping my money.

BustainMovealota's picture

Damn,,  there are a lot of morons out there

Dead Canary's picture

I have a web site that sells bricks and mortar.