Black Friday Retail Sales Up 3%

The holiday shopping season got off to a healthy start as retail sales increased 3 percent over 2007—a day which increased more than 8 percent from Black Friday 2006, according to ShopperTrak RCT. Preliminary sales estimated at a daily rate for Black Friday totaled $10.6 billion. 

Deep discounts drove consumers en masse to various retail locations to spend – despite myriad economic pressures seen over the last two months, the Chicago-based company said.

“Retailers truly experienced what we’ve dubbed the ‘perfect storm’ over the last few weeks, with the financial markets melting down, the presidential election, which typically slows retail traffic, and relatively high gasoline prices—all of which slowed both retail traffic and spending,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak. “Under these circumstances, to start off the season in this fashion is truly amazing and is a testament to the resiliency of the American consumer, and undeniably proves a willingness to spend.”

Retail traffic was heavy throughout the country as shoppers responded to early openings and numerous door buster specials and sales promotions, according to the company, which tracks and analyses shopper movement in retail environments. Regionally, the South lead the way with a 3.4 percent rise over 2007, with the Midwest (3 percent), West (2.7 percent), and Northeast (2.6 percent) closely following.

“While this is an encouraging start for retailers, there’s no guarantee these deep discounts will continue after Black Friday weekend, which could slow spending,” Martin said.

Martin also noted that the holiday shopping season is just 27 days, as opposed to 32 in 2007, “which may catch some procrastinating consumers off guard, leading to lower sales levels.”

Developed by ShopperTrak, the National Retail Sales Estimate provides a nationwide benchmark of retail sales. It is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department’s GAFO (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales) statistic, as well as ShopperTrak’s proprietary industry intelligence on shopper movement and sales statistics.