The Good News in Thanksgiving Weekend Retail Sales

According the the National Retail Federation Thanksgiving weekend retail sales are up sharply relative to last year:

Washington, November 25, 2012 – The New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins weren’t the only winners this Thanksgiving Day as more than 35 million Americans visited retailers’ stores and websites Thursday – up from 29 million last year – scoring deals on everything from hot electronic items to cashmere sweaters and toys. According to a National Retail Federation survey conducted by BIGinsight over the weekend, traffic and spending grew over the entire weekend*. More people than ever before also shopped online and in stores on Black Friday, as 89 million shoppers braved the crowds, up from 86 million last year.

According to the survey, a record 247 million shoppers** visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 226 million last year. Making sure to take advantage of retailers’ promotions to the full extent, the average holiday shopper spent $423 this weekend, up from $398 last year. Total spending reached an estimated $59.1 billion.

“From green beans to great deals, millions of Americans found time this Thanksgiving to make the most of retailers’ promotions and enjoy a special family holiday,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “To keep their customers excited about holiday shopping, retailers will continue to offer attractive promotions through December, and provide strong consumer value with low prices, enhanced mobile and online offerings, and unique product assortment.”

If that pattern holds good throughout the holiday season during which retailers expect to do 50% of their annual sales, it will be very good news for the economy. However, I think we should temper our reactions a bit until the end of the year for a couple of reasons. First, the percentage of total retail sales done during Thanksgiving weekend has increased enormously since 2006. It’s increased almost three whole percentage points to 11.1% of all holiday sales taking place during that single weekend.

Second, buyers are being attracted by deep discounts (or, at least, the perception of deep discounts). It’s possible that retailers may experience higher sales volume while making lower net revenue.

We won’t really know what happened until after the first of the year. If there’s a wave of bankruptcies among retailers, we’ll know that the increased Thanksgiving weekend sales weren’t nearly enough. Keep your fingers crossed.

66 comments… add one
  • steve

    Have mostly given up exchanging gifts so we can avoid those crowds.


  • Drew

    Lets hope. But Im not buying it. Lets let the season pass, take a look, and then evaluate.

    The Average Joe is running out of economic gas. ObamaCare just cost me $4K/yr. Thanksgiving discussion: nice nephew who voted for Obama based upon “free” healthcare. When pointed out that unless he was provided for from family care it was $5-$7K cost to him he shit his pants.

    Think he’s buying?

    Careful what you wish for………

  • Have mostly given up exchanging gifts so we can avoid those crowds.

    Outside of food, sundries, and pharmaceuticals I do nearly all of my retail shopping online. Year-round.

    I know my limitations. The insanity over Thanksgiving weekend would be too much for me. Over that weekend I can barely go to the grocery store without beaning somebody.

  • The Average Joe is running out of economic gas.

    That’s a subject I’d meant to touch on. One of the big issues is how much of this spending is using borrowed money. Borrowing for ordinary consumer spending (which, according to the report, is a lot of what’s going on) is a very, very bad sign.

  • Have mostly given up exchanging gifts so we can avoid those crowds.

    I don’t know how I got so lucky, but my son has to be one of the least materialistic teens out there. He asked for a shirt for Christmas and nothing so far for his birthday (near Christmas). That’s it. My wife and I rarely exchange gifts, so we end up also being able to avoid much of the holiday crush as well.

  • That’s what we did, too, Steve. But we gave them money. One of them just wanted too much of it.

  • C’mon, c’mon. You won’t be hurt. I just read some apocalyptic tripe the other day.

    The world will end on Dec. 21. That’s the winter solstice. People have been superstitious about that crap from time immemorial.

  • There were a bunch of early Christians who didn’t care for women atall.

  • I’m inclined to believe Paul was one. My husband’s grandmother thought so. She was a staunch Methodist.

  • What? My baby supposed to lie in a manger? This is 2001, jackass.

    My baby has an antique Jenny Lind from Sears.

  • It’s pretty. Blows your mind, doesn’t it?:

  • $125 at Primitives.

  • If I am an American Psycho, I can always sell it back to the consignment shop.

  • Honestly, what the hell? I like babies.

  • I don’t have a figure to keep anymore . Haven’t for 20 years. I just wanted this man’s.

  • And there you are.

  • And that’s why you wear Etienne Aigners and cowgirl boots.

  • Kids, I’m ready to go to Egypt again, to defend my people.

  • Staggering isn’t it? But a girl has to be dressed, doesn’t she?

  • C’mon. C’mon. I need some backup here.

  • Annie, Get Your Gun.

  • Where y’all come from, Mamou?

  • Ice, what about this crib mattress? It seems too hard to me.

    They were quite stern disciplinarians at the time it was built.

  • It’s the heart of rock n’ roll and I like it. Yes, I do. I like it.

  • Whatev.

  • Babies:

  • You tell people not to f**k with you, then what?

  • I told people not to piss me off.

  • Apparently, you go Zeena. Really pretty scarves for nearly nothing. I bought mine at Dollar General for 5 bucks. But if you’d like to do that ….

  • You don’t have to wear them as an Islamic.

  • The $52 blouse that I bought is just gorgeous. And has a good hand feel.

  • Rats. I bought this one at $25 to wear with leggings:

  • It has a nice hand feel, too. Especially the jersey neck.

  • And it would be a suitable dress for a younger woman.

  • Can’t give it up, can I?

  • I told you I rock n’ roll.

  • I’ve seen so many good-looking grandmothers at the coffee shop in Natchez raising their grandchildren that I’m not even fazed.

  • Rich ones, too.

  • Mind, I’ll become a right predator if anyone comes after mine.

  • Pleased to eat you alive.

  • God is love, far as I know.

  • Don’t be so fuzzled. My family isn’t. Go make a good Christmas for the people you love most.

  • Sing Gloria.

  • Y’all have something wrong, Sugar?

  • Damn. Those Arians were close to right.

  • I told you I studied this sh*t for 30 years.

  • You better make a good argument if you want to come from another direction from Harvard and Vanderbilt.

  • Andy

    I shop online too. I joked today that I punched someone in the face and trampled some other people in order to get a bargain on Amazon.

  • Not to mention that I wear cowgirl boots.

  • Scarlett, I don’t know nothin’ about raisin’ no babies!

  • What we’ll have at Christmas is a very merry widow.

  • I was merry when I married the man nearly 20 years ago.

  • Andy, I buy wherever I can. I try to buy as locally as possible.

  • Tomorrow morning I have an appointment to meet Joan Wending of St. Francisville at the coffee house. She does lovely work with recycled materials.

    I’ll be looking through botanical drawings that she’ll decoupage onto reclaimed slate roofing tiles. I have some empty wall space in the hall.

  • I’f I’d stayed in biology, I’d have gone for botany, bugs, or barnacles.

  • You could always go to Amazon and get a Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans CD:

  • Y’all Yankees, or what?

  • I was wrong. Joan Wending lives in Natchez. She has a portfolio of terrific looking stuff that hearkens back to old mission style. Pre-William Morris.

    She apprenticed in old-world cabinet making in New Orleans. 30-40 years ago.

  • Does she have an online presence? Web page, Facebook page, whatever? I looked and didn’t find anything.

  • She is getting older, and is feeling the pains of working with wood for such a long time.

    She needs an assistant (someone who doesn’t get hernias) to handle her big stuff. And she wants it to be a personal workshop, not a studio.

  • We’re talking pieces that sell for $1600-1800 dollars.

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