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Black Friday-Hot or Not?

Traditionally each day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, has generated billions of dollars for retail stores and brings throngs of crowds to shopping malls and stores across America. Unfortunately, I've participated in the madness (however, I've never been one of those shoving, pushing, waiting in line at 3:00 AM Black Friday extremists).

Photo Credit: NY Times shoppers in line at Macy's

Yesterday, Friday November 28th I was on the East Coast visiting my Italian family in Clarksburg, West Virginia and decided to brave the storm and head to the mall. Part of me was curious with the current economic downfall, I wanted to see from a statistics point-of-view, if as many people would still show and how much money was being generated. From my perspective, the mall was pretty packed and it was more than I expected to see. People were running around with their arms filled with bags and I even heard of a fight in the line at Target over who got checked out first. It seemed people were still feeling pretty hot about Black Friday.

Then I did a little research. An article from The Guardian notes that the US shopping season got a lukewarm start. Britt Beemer of America's Research Group said on Friday that he saw shoppers carrying 25 to 40 percent fewer bags this year. "If the item was there, they bought it. If it wasn't there, they left," said Beemer, calling this year's customer a "hit-and-run shopper." I definitely would call myself a hit-and-run shopper, my patience is low and if I wasn't brand loyal, then I was out if the item wasn't there. On the other side, Forbes said shoppers came out, and although timid, the traffic was better than expected.

Nonetheless, U.S. holiday sales had been projected to climb only 2.2%, according to the National Retail Federation, which is the weakest gain in six years.

Did you participate in Black Friday? What about the horrible tragedies at Wal-Mart and Toys R' Us, that give us as Americans bad names for our greedy consumerism habits? Share your thoughts...was it hot or not?


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