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Black Friday Retail Sales: Up 3% Compared to 2007

Written by Nickel - 13 Comments

Given all of the economic doom and gloom that’s been dished out over the past several months, I fully expected Black Friday to be a bust. But guess what? According to data from ShopperTrak, Black Friday retail sales increased 3% over last year’s levels. While this was the smallest year-over-year gain since 2005, it was still a gain.

This increase seems particularly significant given that a recent Gallup poll indicated that shoppers expected to spend 29% less this year. Of course, there are no guarantees that a better than expected Black Friday will translate into a strong holiday shopping season overall. All of this begs the question…

Is the economy really doing better than we’ve been led to believe? Or are people simply blowing their cash early in search of the hottest deals, only to tighten their belts as Christmas draws nearer. Another factor to consider is that there are only 27 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas this year compared to 32 in 2007. Perhaps the shorter shopping season has kicked shoppers into high gear.

What about you?

Are you cutting back this year? Or is it business as usual?

Hat Tip: NoCreditNeeded

Published on December 1st, 2008 - 13 Comments
Filed under: Economy

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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13 Responses to “Black Friday Retail Sales: Up 3% Compared to 2007”

  1. 1
    jim Says:

    Some guy got trampled at a Wal-Mart… it’s insanity!

  2. 2
    Daniel Says:

    1- Yes, the truth is not near as bad as what has been reported. Bad news sells, terrible news sells even better, and good news doesn’t sell at all.

    2- Yes, I am cutting back. Seeing as I’m unemployed, the only gifts I’m buying this year are for my nieces & nephews (1 small thing each, some of which have already been purchased), and for my son.

  3. 3
    KC Says:

    This is an odd Christmas for me cause we’re moving 500 miles on 12/19. So Christmas is pretty much shot. We’ve already bought a house and of course have all the expenses that go with a big move. So I’ll be cutting back spending this year on gifts, but at the same time I’m shelling out money for other things.

  4. 4
    Ginny Says:

    That surprises me a bit, but it was said that the stores would do some great sales. I didn’t do any black friday shopping, my husband barely gets any work. We are definitely cutting back big time this christmas!

  5. 5
    rufusmcbufus Says:

    Daniel, seriously? Good news doesn’t sell? Let’s see here. Market crooners on CNBC have lulled everyone for years and years with “buy and hold for the long term”, infinitely expanding economy nonsense. Every last bit of is has been happy-talk. The National Association of Realtors…pure Sunny Jim sales non-speak for years and years and years that inflated a huge bubble on the premise that “housing prices never go down”. Pollyanna sells and sells big…REALLY BIG. The last year of “doom and gloom” is just reality exerting itself at long last. I, for one, think this is long overdue.
    -rufusmcbufus

  6. 6
    WiseMoneyMatters Says:

    I’m actually planning on spending quite a bit more this year than I have in the past. I’ve got a lot more income this year and over the past few years I haven’t been able to give many gifts to friends and family so I’m making up for it this year.

    though I didn’t even shop on Black Friday. I slept in. I did however get some good “open box” deals on returns from the few days after Black Friday.

  7. 7
    Daniel Says:

    @rufus–

    Pick up ANY newspaper and show me an article detailing how many planes didn’t crash yesterday, or how many gas stations weren’t robbed yesterday. You won’t find it, because that sort of good news doesn’t sell.

  8. 8
    Danielle Says:

    I am making an effort to cut back, but more importantly to save ahead for the expenses of the Holidays and to spread out the expense over a greater time, looking for deals and buying presents as early as October this year.

    Its pretty much a 1 person effort, my husband seems to be on track for doing his business as usual… waiting till we are days away from leaving town and ordering a bunch of stuff online, but he could surprise me.

    Definitely no spending this year on holiday decor, or buying gifts for anyone not family or very closest friends.

    We avoided Black Friday sales (even online), but I am glad to hear that it was not down overall, any positive news can only help right? Rightfully overshadowed by the death of the Wal-mart employee in NY, but in the long run it might prevent spenders from clamping down later on. Back to the crowd mentality comment on the other article, this could apply to holiday spending too. If people think that others are spending equal or more on the holidays as in years past, then it must be ok for them to do that too.

  9. 9
    ~Dawn Says:

    I work in the accounting office at a major retail store and our sales for black friday 2007 were 326k and this year they were 515k for the day. We attribute this to two things..
    1. People who usually shop at the higher end stores came to our store this year
    2. There was an obviously larger crowd of internationals that were shopping (New refugees, tourists, etc)

    Personally for myself I bought over half of my presents from the thrift stores or from ebay (almost new). And I spent about 60% less this year than last year – yeah!

  10. 10
    bobbi Says:

    I did not shop on Black Friday. I do not want to get caught up in the madness. I am definitely cutting back and saving more. Homemade gifts are an excellent way to show you care.

  11. 11
    mitch Says:

    “… Black Friday retail sales increased 3% over last year’s levels. While this was the smallest year-over-year gain since 2005, it was still a gain..”

    …. that ’story’ is repeated everywhere in the American media — but the source of that data is biased and unreliable.
    The media blindly accepts these numbers as gospel.

    But that 3% number doesn’t come from actual sales data from retailers — but merely from an e-mailed “survey” of some shoppers… who ’self-report’ their spending. The annual survey is sponsored by a big-retailer public-relations firm (National Retail Federation), which is far from unbiased… and has a poor record of accurately forecasting Xmas sales. There are huge problems with the methodology used to generate those NRF annual XMAS sales figures.

    The “Comscore” company offers a much better data source… relying on actual online sales numbers from retailers.
    Comscore data shows barely a 1% increase in online sales this year over last. In a couple of days,

    Master Card will issue its “ShopperPulse” data — an actual measurement of what people spent (on their MC Credit Card) and has proven to be more reliable than either foot traffic, surveys and other biased sources.

  12. 12
    SimplyForties Says:

    I am definitely downsizing this Christmas. I must say that I’m a lot more clever with my gifts during the lean years, so maybe it’s a good thing!

  13. 13
    Justin @ FixThePig Says:

    The increase in sales doesn’t surprise me at all, in fact I predicted that we would see an increase. I think that many people who have never bothered to battle the massive crowds and shop on Black Friday decided to try and make their buck stretch a little further this year.
    More then ever people are looking for ways to make their dollar go further and the deep discounts get them out.
    I’m willing to bet that profits on the the sales during Black Friday were very skinny.

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