Holiday retail sales total $12.4 Billion for the first two days

The 2003 holiday retail season got off to a strong start as the season’s first two days outperformed the same period in 2002 by 5.4%, retail intelligence company ShopperTrak reported in its National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE).

Sales for the first two days of the season totaled $12.4 billion, with Black Friday accounting for $7.2 billion of that total and Saturday contributing $5.2 billion. ShopperTrak also reported that Saturday’s $5.2 billion in retail sales was a significant 6.1% improvement over the same day in 2002.

“Saturday’s sales were helped by a relatively easy comparison to Black Saturday 2002,” said Michael Niemira, lead consultant for ShopperTrak. “While the holiday retail season appears to be off to a very good start, the first weekend of the season is traditionally not an accurate predictor of the rest of the season and because of this, the industry is taking a position of cautious optimism.”

Many retailers opened their doors early on Friday, offering significant discounts and other sales incentives. While Black Friday is typically the second or third busiest sales day of the holiday season, it is not considered to be a particularly good predictor for the rest of the season, as factors like weather, discounting patterns, inventory, and general economic conditions come into play as the season progresses.

Developed by ShopperTrak, the NRSE 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.