Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Black Friday

November 28, 2008

Check out Black Friday.

Call it a test of the American consumer’s mettle.
How many will feel confident enough about the economy, and their own future within it, to spend money that is increasingly hard to come by? How many will resist the siren call of steep discounts and sales for even the hottest gadgets, like those available at Apple Inc’s stores?

This Black Friday, such questions are not only central to the future of many of the best known U.S. retailers, but amount to a key indicator of how quickly the country’s consumer-led economy will shrink in the coming months. How deep a recession could it be, how long might it last?

At Shop Talk, our colleagues are out across the country today, talking to scores of shoppers and documenting their stories, the hardships they have seen this year and the fears they voice about the coming year, after the holiday gatherings are over.

Nearly 45 percent of Americans are expected to turn out for the sales that started today and last through the weekend, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Stay tuned for anecdotes and pictures, and our full coverage on Reuters’ Holiday Shopping page. Let us know what you are seeing too.

Also in the basket:

U.S. holiday sales begin before turkey grows cold

UK retail sales plunge back to series low in Nov-CBI

(Photo/Reuters)

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