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Black Friday Weekend Gives Retailers Hope, No Guarantees on Days Ahead

By David Moin

Traffic and sales were strong on Friday then tapered off by Saturday afternoon, leaving retailers a bit more positive and expecting modest gains for holiday 2022.

Black Friday washed away some retail blues, at least for the weekend.

Stepped-up discounting, weather conducive for getting out of the house, and renewed consumer enthusiasm for shopping the malls helped retailers reverse weak trends seen through October and most of November — and for the moment eased anxieties about how holiday 2022 will play out.

Though it wasn’t the blockbuster of years past when shoppers stampeded for doorbusters, this past weekend saw decent sales gains online and in stores. Americans responded to the surge of pre-price promotions, which were most often in the 25 to 50 percent range and preplanned, after holding back on gift spending earlier this year.

In addition, major stores stayed closed on Thanksgiving, abetting Black Friday’s business, while services increasingly being offered — such as extended deadlines for receiving packages in time for Christmas; buy now, pay later, and buy online, pick up in store — also helped. . . .

. . . “The main story was that there were no traffic-limiting weather events,” said Evan Gold, executive vice president of Planalytics, which provides weather forecasting that helps retailers in their planning. “There was some rain in the Southwest, but no snow in any major market in the country. Today [Sunday] it’s a little rainy in New York and a few other markets, probably keeping some people from putting up outdoor decorations, but nothing significant enough to keep people at home.”

Gold said December “should be a great month for demand in seasonal items, which are in better inventory positions. If you look at the next five to seven days, the warmth in the east is going to move out. The month will be colder than last December, which was the warmest December ever recorded for the country overall.” . . .


• Stricter budgeting by shoppers.
• Normalizing post-pandemic sales patterns.
• Dressier styles show gains; casual styles moderating.
• Retail inventories still high, though less bloated.
• Business robust on Black Friday; traffic waned by Saturday afternoon.
• Nominal U.S. holiday 2022 sales seen increasing 6 to 7 percent.

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