The Black Friday Shopping Hangover Is Coming: David Rosenberg Explains

Tyler Durden's picture

Last week, while the market was soaring as news of the upcoming Fed's FX swap lines was being leaked, the general media's narrative goalseeked to the stock spike was that it was a function of "record" Black Friday sales. Alas, as often the case, there is some unpleasant fine print to go alongside this seemingly bullish proclamation. David Rosenberg explains why the shopping bonanza hangover is coming, and why, just like in the cash for clunkers case, it means that a late November shopping record means an imminent plunge in retail soon as the bills come in.

Hangover Coming


Credit card usage was quite rampant on Black Friday — it outstripped cash and debit-card payment by more than a two-to-one ratio. But when the bills come in early in the New Year, look for a bit of a consumer pullback — another risk to the Q1 outlook (especially if we wake up on December 17th and realize that Congress has recessed without extending last year's tax goodies into 2012 — see House G.O.P. Is Divided On Extension of Payroll Tax on page All of the Saturday NYT).


Despite all the hoopla over Thanksgiving, total chain store sales only came in +3.2% YoY in November, which was light versus consensus expectations and far slower than the 5.5% pace of a year ago. Volumes may have been blown out, but the retailers cannibalized their margins with the widespread promotional activity (Have a look at In Bargain Aisle, a Squeeze on Margins on page Cl of today's WSJ). Not only that but one-third of the retail universe missed their sales targets last month. And guess what item was the hottest seller in the post-Thanksgiving sales rush? Try ... hand guns: a record 32% YoY pace (to 129,166 — based on FBI background checks). All of a sudden, being a bank teller or gas station attendant just became a tad less safe.

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Seditious Blasphemer's picture

Bullish for Bullets and Bomb shelters.

"And guess what item was the hottest seller in the post-Thanksgiving sales rush? Try ... hand guns: a record 32% YoY pace (to 129,166 — based on FBI background checks)"

Rainman's picture

....understated number....street mutts don't do no background sheet.

The Big Ching-aso's picture



The main reason for the bleak retail outlook post Black Friday is that my wife untypically only charged half the max limit on her credit cards.    

CPL's picture

So what happens on a dead retail christmas?  Chew that as bubble gum for the mind, make a plan and trade on it.

CClarity's picture

Had to run out to Best Buy and Office Max this afternoon.  Both were dead.  I mean really dead.  No lines at all.  Normally there are lines even during non holiday times.  And it wasn't because there were so many clerks manning the check out counter.  I think a lot of people blew their wad on Black Friday and the rest of the season will be slower than expected.  Or my anecdotal experience in an anomaly.

So much for ConsumerMas.

andybev01's picture

I went to Office Max on Saturday around 2pm, prime shopping time frame.

This store is in Mountain View, Ca, on the border of Los Altos (if you know the area, this isn't exactly economically depressed).

Same scenario, parked at the door and had the attention of every sales person...of which there were 4.

Spooky stuff right there.

CClarity's picture

Exactly!  I was in Pleasant Hill, and while not as robust as the Los Altos area, most of the shoppers are from Lamorinda and tony Walnut Creek, so certainly not depressed and very electronic saavy and consumptive.

Thank you for mentioning the parking situation.  That probably blew me away the most.  Typically, not holiday time, I still have to drive around and wait for someone to leave a parking place.  Just like you said, there were far more empty places than occupied.  I pulled right up front on the side of all the empty handicapped slots. 

This is not what our retail market mavens want known.

J 457's picture

Interesting, I'm also in Nor Cal not far from you and the mall stores were absolutely packed.  Ate late lunch at 2:00 and nearly every seat taken.

Stack Trace's picture

My wife and I went to the mall last week to get a battery for my frill. The mall was a ghost town. Mind you it was 4 in the afternoon on a Friday but still...the place was so empty we thought it might be closed when we pulled up. BTW I live in Dallas... Most shopping malls per capita.

Nothing real here's picture

What was the credit card to debit/cash ratio last year during the Black Friday period?  Wtihout that, I don't know if that statement is meaningful, even as I agree with the conclusion. 



ebworthen's picture


More gin and credit cards!

Everything is fine!  Really!

People don't need jobs to buy stuff, that's what debt is for!

Just ask the CONgress and Fannie/Freddie and the ECB and the FED and BOA and the IMF!

More debt!  More spending! More liquor and mind altering substances!

Party on!!!

MrBinkeyWhat's picture

The unhappy truth is you are 100% on target.  Me: got my "special equipment" long ago, so not buying in the now under heavy scrutiny. The only purchases I even consider are "junk silver"...and beef jurkey.

Gotta love the Deep South...Bitchez!

Crisismode's picture

The Deep South is not the kind of place you want to live in.


It is indeed ugly, in form, shape, and substance.


Get thee hence from that pit of hell.

Yossarian's picture

I use my credit card for everything- and I have zero debt and substantial liquid assets.  I pay it off at the end of every month.  Maybe it's the result of another less alarming trend...

Fedophile's picture

You'll have to wait a month for the November G19 to find out.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Isn't it nice to know that your credit card company knows everywhere you have shopped? I like the anonymity of cash. No one needs to know what I buy or where I buy it.

earleflorida's picture

you got a phone on ya - well they got ya tagged with a wireless bracelet

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Correct but the old Captain Kirk communicator wasn't quite that sophisticated. Plus they can tell I was there but not what I bought if anything or how much I bought.

jonjon831983's picture

Dammit now they know all the porn sites and toy shops I've been to.

Too bad the ho down the street doesn't take plastic.




but, yea nice how points cards also collect this info and sell it out.


Credit cards are just soooo damned convenient though if you have the cash to pay it off.  I use CC's for everything as low as I can go and the shops would allow.  Deferred payment ftw.  Collect my 1.5% interest while I wait.... and possibly end up consuming more because of the convenience.

john39's picture

speaking of guns... some in the gun world have cast a worrisome eye at the fact that a new york capital group has been steadily acquiring gun manufacturers.  some believe that the entity is a Soros front:

kinda makes you wonder...


saiybat's picture

They plan to make money off of demagoguery after seeing all the cash that was made after the Obama scare. Buy used to discourage fear mongering. You can expect this Freedom Group with the help of the NRA to be behind an even bigger scare in the near future. Guns are a bull market. They might go as far as getting some politicians to propose gun ban legislation and then killing it knowing it wouldn't get passed anyhow. If that were to happen price would skyrocket especially in private sales. My guns go up in value every year mostly due to inflation. If you buy used at under or close to the value of the gun there's money to be made in it. In either case guns are a good store of value especially if you're strapped for cash. There's not much speculation so they won't lose value unless a huge shipment of military surplus comes on the markets which is unlikely to happen.

Troll Magnet's picture

time to go do my part and pick up another dime bag.

Scalaris's picture

Really? But how is it not possible, that one night's credit-purchased iPads, helped to fix the economy?

Perhaps the numbers were mixed with the amount of McChickens bought with food stamps that night. It happens.

grid-b-gone's picture

"Being a bank teller or gas station attendant just became a tad less safe."

This is an irresponsible statement. The FBI NICS check on those 129,166 adds much assurance that solid citizens bought the guns. The secondary gun markets, shows and private sales, are much more likely to be a source of questionable sales. Actually, with 45% of housholds owning guns, theft is a greater source still.

The NICS check usually only goes through same-day or quickly when a social security number is on the 4473 form. This ties the gun's serial number directly to the buyer.

I know the line was only thrown into the article for its desired effect, but it was a little irresponsible, or shows a lack of knowledge about the process.

Let them eat iPads's picture

I buy all my guns through the secondary markets.

Craigslist has an excellent selection.

JohnG's picture

Hotter than a two dollar pistol.....

hannah's picture

i call bullshi.t.....craigslist doesnt list real guns for sale...least not in my area.

Crisismode's picture

He was bullshitting you, and


just yanking your chain.


Ignore the pissant.

Chuck Walla's picture

Hell, the ATF is responsible for thousands of guns in criminal hands. So, who's watching them if they are supposed to be watching us?

Caviar Emptor's picture

19% of Americans with a 401K plan have taken out a loan against it. 

grid-b-gone's picture

And U6 unemployment is about 19%, too. I'll bet those charts correlate well, or maybe with a 99-week offset.

Rainman's picture

Looks like a lot of upside left for this ATM tool

Crisismode's picture

 Only 19% ???


I'm very surprised it is that low.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

i am already down for predicting the largest dollar volume of returned merch in history between the 26th and the Rose Parade [or the Macy's New Year's Day Parade if they're still in business]

i hope we don't have any stories of how people had a few cocktails and decided to check out their new firearms...unless they go outside, of course...

Crisismode's picture

I'm betting the handguns will not be returned.


Nor the ammo.

Thunder_Downunder's picture

"All of a sudden, being a bank teller or gas station attendant just became a tad less safe."


Pfft! Everyone knows that handguns have only 3 uses:


1. Self defence

2. Recreation

3. Disciplining the Missus



txsilverbug's picture

Four uses..

Don't forget that the ATF and DOJ can buy them and put them in the hands of mexican cartels to increase the body count along the border.  They they can get congress and senate to enact more gun laws for our own good.  Had this plan went through without a hitch, we would be in for a world of hurt.

hardcleareye's picture

Be careful with that last one, it seems that most of the new handgun owners are the Missus...  they shoot back! lol

Dr. Engali's picture

I can tell you that my wife and her friends got everything on black Friday for Christmas. I can't speak for all of them but I know my wife won't be spending any significant amount of money between now an Christmas. As for me everything was bought on line. My suspicion is there are a lot more people out there that have done the same.

Seasmoke's picture

ditto for my wife.......ditto for me ......done and done !

IndicaTive's picture



ItsDanger's picture

I usually use a credit card for most purchases, dont own a debit card.  Im not sure if that measure is reliable, Id need to see more stats on that topic.

Victor Berry's picture

Don't forget about the credit card bills coming due over the next several months that the likes of GE Money offered with zero percent interest rates for 12- and 18-months.  You know, the interest-free credit cards which jump to 29.99% interest retroactively if the balance is not paid in full.  There's gonna be some unhappy proles when they see their credit card statements with big lumps of additional money owed!

Anyone interested in a low-paying job working in the customer service departments of the blood-sucking leeches like GE Money?  Not me, no matter how good the corporate health insurance is! 

JohnG's picture

The Simpsons episode where Homer get's hired as a conveinece store clerk:

Pakistani accent....


"And remember, as a clerk, your WILL be shot [rips open shirt], I wear these bullet hole scars as a badge of HONOR!!"


Be safe all you new shooters.....I'll stay in the house.

Harrison's picture

What sort of retarded nonsense is this about "All of a sudden, being a bank teller or gas station attendant just became a tad less safe"? Who do you think bought the guns? Does the insufferable Canadian jackass think that gang members go to a retail store and submit to an FBI background check in order to obtain their guns?

Crisismode's picture

He does think that.


Because, as you said, he is a complete asshole.


Enough said.

f16hoser's picture

.....but, but, "They" said this years Black Friday "Crushed" last years black friday. Did they lie to us again?????