Retailers, consumers and prices
The annual ritual began with all the proper signs. Shoppers lined up before midnight on Friday. Some wore pajamas, others imbibed hot coffee or alcohol. Store managers straightened rows of sweaters and blew dust mites off flat-screen TVs while their doors remained closed.
Then the rush started.
There were fights over toy hamsters, a clamor for laptops under $500 and even a leather jacket or two was purchased. Retailers prayed and tried to banish the ghosts of a terrible 2008.
Traffic was strong. Americans left malls with more shopping bags in their hands than a year ago. And yet.
ShopperTrak told us today that sales were only up 0.5 percent on Black Friday. In 2008, when the banking system seemed on the verge of collapse and global recession loomed, sales rose 3 percent on Black Friday.
We know it is still early in the season. We remember from last year that it is very hard to call the holiday season. But we can’t help but wonder, what happened?