Almost Black Friday

I think it is safe to say that most of us are gearing up to finish work so we can spend time with our loved ones this week. For anyone representing retailers this is a HUGE week. It's almost Black Friday, folks. In true tradition, I thought I'd give you the outlook on it this year.

First of all, I want to make sure you know what Black Friday is. According to Wikipedia, "Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, is historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year... when retailers traditionally get back 'in the black' after operating 'in the red' for the previous months."

Well, according to most sources, we are looking forward to a positive holiday shopping season this year. The National Retail Federation reports that total holiday retail sales are expected to increase 5 percent over last year, bringing holiday spending to $435.3 billion. In comparison, holiday sales in 2004 rose 6.7 percent, to $414.7 billion.

Have you been out to a mall lately? I was shocked to see a Santa display. When food shopping, I heard holiday tunes in the turkey aisle. There was a variety of candy canes next to the candy corn. This intermingling of holidays seems to reinforce this year's push. And what a year it has been. Will consumer confidence be resilient after all that Americans have gone through this year, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita coupled with increasingly high fuel prices? NRF seems to think so.



One-fifth of retail industry sales (19.9%) occur during the holiday season, making it the most important time period of the year for the industry. Deloitte & Touche echos the sentiment with the results from its 20th Anniversary Holiday Mood Survey of Retail Spending, which found that overall spending is expected to increase--though spending on gifts is expected to dip slightly. Based upon a survey of over 2100 consumers, NPD found these key points:

  • About 1 in 4 consumers surveyed said rising gas and oil prices would have a significant impact on their holiday spending;
  • 37% of respondents plan to buy goods online, according to the study;
  • 67% said they plant to go to discount stores such as Target and Wal-Mart Stores;
  • Leading purchases will be (in order): clothing, toys, DVD movies, consumer electronics, and books.

    NPD also said that this holiday season is expected to be notable as "the year of giving to those in need." Shoppers will be more inclined to give to the needy or buy products for which the proceeds will go to charity, the research firm said. So here's something to be thankful about...Black Friday. Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers. I thank you for reading. See you next week.

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