Bleak Friday? Surveys Call Thanksgiving Weekend a Turkey

Two retail survey companies both found that brick-and-mortar sales fell over the recent four-day weekend, with consumers purchasing online during the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

RetailNext, which correlates retail data, estimated that sales fell 4.7 percent during Black Friday weekend, with a 5.1 percent decline in store traffic.

ShopperTrak, which uses location-based analytics, reported an even steeper 10.4 percent sales decrease from 2014.

Meanwhile, Adobe estimated that online shopping grew 14 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. IBM WatsonTrend found that online sales rose 26 percent on Thanksgiving and 21.5 percent on Black Friday.

Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder, said that sales were hurt by reduced shopping hours on Thanksgiving.

“The success of the holiday season doesn’t hinge on the performance of a single day,” he added. The group maintains its prediction of a 2.4 percent increase in holiday sales, noting that seven out of the top 10 sales days haven’t yet come.

RetailNext found that while brick-and-mortar sales fell over the weekend, they did rise 1.5–7.5 percent compared to previous months. In addition, sales per shopper increased 0.3 percent, and the average transaction rose 3.1 percent.

The best performance came from the Midwest and Northeast, RetailNext said.

Stores without a strong digital presence “outperformed on the brick-and-mortar side of the business,” said Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext, in a statement. “Of course, the flip side was true for brands with strong digital presences that offered a seamless multichannel experience, and it’s those brands that have a head start into retail’s most important season.”


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