Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Sorting through Black Friday data


Black Friday has come and gone but what on earth happened at the cash registers over the Thanksgiving weekend? The data is trickling in, and so are the early critiques. (See our previous blogs: Treat Black Friday reports cautiously and Black Friday data spurs more questions than answers)

Here is a break down of the latest reports and what data is still to come:

National Retail Federation:

According its 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey, conducted by BIGresearch and published on Sunday, the NRF said more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend (which includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projections for Sunday), up from 147 million shoppers last year. 

Shoppers spent an average of $372.57 this weekend, up 7.2 percent over last year’s $347.55. Total spending reached an estimated $41.0 billion, up from $34.6 billion a year ago.

The results came from a survey that polled 3,370 consumers from Nov. 27-29. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 percent.

Winds blow in retailers’ favor


This Thanksgiving shopping weekend,  the weather may be one element not giving retailers a headache.

Retailers are geared up for the crucial three-day Thanksgiving shopping weekend, and many have already slashed prices to kick-start sales and rouse wary shoppers into spending mode.

Thanksgiving ’08 will gobble up more of your dollars


Thanksgiving dinner promises to take a bigger bite of your wallet this year.

“Thanksgiving food prices are up about 6 percent compared to last year,” said Corinne Alexander, a Purdue University agricultural economist.

Alexander said grocery store prices are increasing at a pace of 7.6 percent, compared with restaurants’ rise of 4.5 percent.

Check Out Line: This week in retail wasn’t pretty


Check out a stream of extremely sobering news from – and for – retailers.

This week, quarterly reports came in from Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, JC PenneyCharlotte Russe, and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Black Friday ads popping up online


bf2.JPGIt’s that time of year again – supposed Black Friday ads are now starting to appear on online.

Numerous websites have cropped up in recent years that publish what they claim are copies of the newspaper ads retailers will run for Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving that marks the ultra-competitive launch of the holiday shopping season.

Starbucks hopes you’ll fall for its new autumn menu


hot-chocolate.jpgNeed a sweet treat after this week’s stock market stress?

A Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, one three new “Signature” hot chocolate drinks introduced by Starbucks, could fit the bill. A tall, 12-ounce drink with whip cream packs a whopping 460 calories (with nonfat milk) — think of it as a doughnut in a cup.

This week, Starbucks also introduced two hot Piadini sandwiches. One is veggie with portobello mushroom, spinach, feta, ricotta and egg. The carnivore version is made with mild cheddar, sausage and egg.