So Much For A "Record Black Friday": November Retail Sales Miss Big

Tyler Durden's picture

Earlier we just got confirmation out of Best Buy that one can not, as expected, offset negative margins with near-infinite volume (as the stock tumbles). Now we get advance retail sales proving that all speculation about a record Black Friday was just that. Oh, and a lie. In short - everything missed. Advance retails sales in November (including Thanksgiving) came at 0.2%, on expectations of 0.6%, and down from a revised 0.6%. Retail sales less autos was 0.2%, half of the expected 0.4%, while ex Auto and Gas also printed at 0.2%, also missing big. So... where did all the money go, aside from generating even more negative profits for retailers, who now have to eat a huge cash hole in addition to everything? Or were speculations that Black Friday was a bust, spot on? Expect lower Q4 GDP revisions based on this data.

From the report:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $399.3 billion, an increase of 0.2 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month and 6.7 percent (±0.7%) above November 2010. Total sales for the September through November 2011 period were up 7.4 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The September to October 2011 percent change was revised from +1.1 percent (±0.3) to +1.3 percent (±0.3%).


Retail trade sales were up 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from October 2011, and 6.8 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Nonstore retailers sales were up 13.9 percent (±2.3%) from November 2010 and gasoline stations sales were up 12.9 percent (±1.7%) from last year.

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fonzanoon's picture

So far futures have barely moved on this news. Dupont revised their outlook UP from their previous revision DOWN 2 days ago.

slaughterer's picture

Congratulations to ZH for calling out the Black Friday hype well before this confirmation. 

CORNGUY's picture

Numbers don't matter.


Only Speculation.

curbyourrisk's picture

Numbers don't matter.

Speculation is just a feeling.



NotApplicable's picture

Numbers do matter! See, it takes the power of "negative margins with near-infinite volume" to create the magical confidence we know as TBTF.

Remember, we have to do something

SheepDog-One's picture

Dupont re-crystaled their balls from 'outlook negative' 2 days ago to 'outlook positive'? 

Based upon what, ramp in explosives sales?

My Taint's picture

SNAP cards don't work at Best Buy? Fuck me.

Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

BEST BUY to roll out it's new grocery department in 5...4...3...2...

AngryGerman's picture

since when are fundamentals important again??

Saxxon's picture

That was the joke about WMVN in early 2000;

"We're losing money on every sale".

"That's OK, we'll make it up in volume".

midgetrannyporn's picture

$2 waffle makers told the tale.

Dr. Richard Head's picture

So that pepper sprayin cunt didn't need to blast everyone for her mind control machine....I mean Xbox.  I'll give her Xbox.

Almost Solvent's picture

Make it up on volume.


Reminds me of the Michael Scott Paper Company.

Serving Scranton's Paper Needs In 2009.

Irish66's picture

Fomc to peg unemployment to what?  Little help!

Dr. Richard Head's picture

Due to the excessive rain in the Ohio River Valley and unexpected snow storm in the Northeast, unemployment rose as interviewees couldn't get to the interviews out there.  Here's Tom with the weather.

Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

Weatherman Tom here:

Today's forecast: "In the ROCKY Mountains... Cloudy... In the CLOUDY Mountains... Rocky"

MassDecep's picture

"Expect lower Q4 GDP revisions based on this data"

Expect lies and distortions from the Czars.

junkyardjack's picture

Spending was down because people were worried about the floods in Thailand

the 300000000th percent's picture

But, but, but were in a recovery?

TruthHunter's picture

That's correct sir... were in a recovery

Flakmeister's picture

I swear I got a larger chocolate ration in November... I really do!

EscapeKey's picture

Not only was your ration increased, but the hedonic adjustment found that 10g of chocolate in its current form is the equivalent of 11g of last year's.

Lucky you!

Flakmeister's picture

That Hershey's vs. Godiva thingie.... got ya...

ElvisDog's picture

Along similar lines, I was in the store yesterday and wanted to buy juice. The first carton looked small. I read 59 ounces on the label. I thought "fucking bastards" and looked for a 64 oz container, because I hate it when they reduce the package size. I found out that there are no 64 oz juice containers any more. They're all 59 oz.

Freewheelin Franklin's picture

No Red Cross package for you next month.

TradingJoe's picture

Obviously in the market's view .2% seem to be hardly a "big miss", I truly wonder WHAT WILL!?

Janice's picture

I hate Best Buy. They don't return your emails and hang up on you. The customer service at Best Buy is as poor as McDonalds. The Best Buy employees just wring their hands and explain why they can't help you. However, a friend who works at a local gun shop said that sales were booming. No pun intended. He said that he's never seen the place so busy.

junkyardjack's picture

I went to best buy a few years back and spent $300-400 bucks on a wii, an extra controller and a bunch of games.  I didn't watch the cashier as she put all of my stuff in bags, stupid me I thought you could trust them, and I get home and I realize that 2 of the games that I purchased aren't in the bag.  I go back to the store and tell them that 2 of the games were not put in the bag and they look at me like I'm trying to rip them off.  I say why would I spend nearly $400 buying a video game system and then come in to try to get $50 back for some games, it makes no sense.  They looked around the cash machine where I purchased my stuff, didn't see the games as of course the cashier already moved them somewhere else and that was that.  I never went back to Best Buy again, I will laugh when they eventually go out of business, pieces of shit.

SheepDog-One's picture

Problem is they can only afford to hire retards now. I remember back in the day, Best Buy would actually have some sales people who knew what the hell they were talking about. 

TruthHunter's picture

They're in the technology business.  If they cared they would note the time on your slip,

have security check the video, give you refund, and fire the clerk.  What's so hard about that?

the black arrow's picture

A n employee at cabelas told me that if it wasnt for the gun desk, they would likely close that store

MachoMan's picture

Which is strange because the margins on guns are nil...  but rare, collectible, and class 3 stuff is a different ballgame...

pods's picture

I abhor Best Buy.  Obnoxious lighting, shitty music, poor organization.  Giant ADD clusterfuck!

Crikey, the only way you could get me to want to be there was if it sold drinks and had girls in cages.


StychoKiller's picture

Meh, never did like go-go boots; now, transparent, fsck-me platform high-heels -- MEOWWRR!

Cdad's picture

This is good news.  Maybe American zombie shoppers figured it out, and pocketed cash instead of useless, Chinese made, redundant tech bobbles.

SheepDog-One's picture

Lets hope that is the case! The worthless bankers, who only know how to make a living by fractional reserve lending of fiat credit they counterfeit themselves, would flip out if 'the consumer' turns penny pincher.

warezdog's picture

I had a feeling that all the "record black friday" reports were bogus and even if they were real I was betting most of that money was spent using credit cards.  Seriously, are we EVER going to get ANY real stats from ANYONE?

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

hahahahah, lamstream media was stating how much of a record breaker it was but then in the end it was a wet fart.  Those women fighting over towels should haver turned it up a notch and fight for Chanel number 5

Milton Waddams's picture

just pull up a chart of one of the many publicly-traded 'dollar stores' (formerly five-and-dime stores, soon to be one hundred dollar stores) relative to, say, amazon, for an indication on retail trends.

duo's picture

I bought a Toshiba tablet from the Office Depot next door to the local Best Buy (litterally 30 feet from door to door).  OD and BB had the same price, wouldn't deal, but at least Office Depot didn't treat me like a criminal.  Salespeople were equally ignorant about the products at both places.

My Taint's picture

Go in. Price it. Then buy it online for less. The American Way!

fuu's picture

And use the Amazon price ap to piss 'em off.

mayhem_korner's picture



Black Friday = Red Friday

Tsar Pointless's picture

Considering that every thing you buy is up nearly 10% YOY (or much more in isolated/specific cases), the fact that retail sales unadjusted spending is up slightly more than 7% YOY doesn't sound so impressive, now does it?

My household will be reducing spending beginning now, as I am losing my job in two weeks. Two people, one unemployment check. I should turn that into a television series.

"You, Me and UC" or something like that.

Absinthe Minded's picture

Sorry to hear that TP. My father in law just got laid off, computer engineering, I wonder where his job went? Red dots come to mind though. No offense ORI. His wife has a disability and can't work, so there's another person we all have to carry on the UE max because of job outsourcing. Ain't life grand?