Did you shop ‘til you dropped this past weekend? Apparently many Americans did something close to that. Over the past weekend retailers saw ‘record numbers’ as reported in the New York Times this Monday morning http://nyti.ms/vqWO0f . ‘The National Retail Federation said Sunday that spending per shopper surged 9.1% over 2010 increase since 2006 – to an average of almost $ 400 per customer.’
A bit sobering the article also noted that it’s possible the gains may not last. With today being Cyber Monday there is also the expectation that internet sales numbers this year will far outpace those of 2010 or any prior year. ComScore expects Cyber Monday spending to increase well beyond the $1 billion level achieved in 2010 http://bit.ly/ujX71u . Last year more than 13.7 million items were ordered on Cyber Monday – a record breaking 158 items per second.
I can’t say that I helped internet or in-store sales at all this weekend. I much preferred spending the time with my family. I did receive an Amazon Kindle Fire and have been enjoying my first tablet and am highly impressed with the functionality and features of a $ 200 device. I will review more in depth in a future post but early returns are very positive.
Global stocks have reacted positively to the early shopping numbers. The trend is likely to be followed in the U.S. markets today. But will it last? One comment that gave me pause was from Margaret Taylor, VP and senior credit officer in the corporate finance group at Moody’s Investors Service. “They could be willing to take on more credit” Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, said in a note to clients that he expected that “consumers will dig into savings” or “temporarily tack on a little more debt” during the holidays.
Those comments do not resonate with me as offering reasons for long term optimism. With a 9.1% reported unemployment rate (the real number is more likely between 10-13%) it’s hard for me to believe that credit based consumption is still seen as desirable.
How many of you went out after Thanksgiving dinner to hit a store opening that evening? If not, what about shopping in stores on Black Friday? What was it like? Were the savings as good as advertised? Were you jostled, pushed and elbowed trying to get the best deal?