We can hear the mainstream media now - "Great News Everyone!! The American consumer is back" - online sales on Black Friday rose 10% to $1.7 billion which ComScore says shows "strong spending." The only problem is - which we suspect will be oddly missing from the mainstream narrative, as ShopperTrak reports total sales on Black Friday crashed 10% to $10.4 billion. While blame has been placed on early opening on Thanksgiving, that is false too since spending on that day also plunged 10%. So, the sales news is unequivocally bad - which is hardly surprising given the collapse in consumer confidence.
So to clarify... (via The Guardian)
Total sales in the US on Black Friday fell 10% to $10.4bn this year, down from $11.6bn in 2014, according to research firm ShopperTrak.
The decline in sales on the traditional busiest shopping day of the year has been blamed on shops opening the day before. But this year, sales on Thanksgiving also dropped, and by the same percentage, to $1.8bn.
A big reason for the decline is increased online shopping, as Americans hunt down deals on their smartphones, tablets and computers.
So, fewer customers ventured out for the traditional busiest shopping day of the year, while online retailers saw sales jump... (via Comscore)
Black Friday (November 27) followed with an even stronger spending day with $1.66 billion in desktop online sales, up 10 percent from Black Friday 2014.
“While the holiday season opened a little softer than anticipated, Thanksgiving and Black Friday both posted strong online spending totals that surpassed $1 billion on desktop computers and grew at the rate we had expected,” said comScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni. “This is also the second straight year that Thanksgiving has established itself as one of the more important online buying days, while Black Friday continues to gain in importance online with each passing year. Looking ahead to Cyber Monday, we expect to see upwards of $2.5 billion in desktop spending as people return to their work computers after Thanksgiving weekend and use some of their down time to continue their holiday gift buying, but without other family members looking over their shoulders.”
So to clarify total sales collapsed by $1.2 billion (even as online sales rose by $150 million)... but everything will be awesome once Americans get back to work and start using their work computers to buy buy buy....
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So, for those with difficulty with reading and math...
The National Retail Federation just held their post-Black Friday conference call to clarify evewrything...
- *NRF: MANY NUMBERS THIS YEAR CAN'T BE COMPARED WITH PAST YEARS (unless the numbers are better in which case they're awesome)
- *NRF: METHODOLOGY OF THIS YEAR'S SURVEY CHANGED DRAMATICALLY (so we should ignore it?)
- *NRF CHIEF ECONOMIST: THERE ARE SOME `SPEED BUMPS' IN ECONOMY (weather?)
- *RETAILERS STARTED PROMOTING HEAVILY DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN: NRF (bye bye margins)
- *NATL RETAIL FEDERATION SAYS CONSUMER FUNDAMENTALS VERY STRONG (but you just said "speed bumps")
- *NRF: SLOWER JOB GROWTH DURING SUMMER COULD IMPACT SPENDING (but you just said fundamentals were very strong?)