My Monday morning missive lamenting the pitiful state of our modern media seems to have gotten some traction.  I also chatted with Aaron Task and Jeff Macke of Yahoo Finance about it.

On the way in yesterday, I noticed these two articles in the NYTimes:

Rough Times Take Bloom Off a New Year’s Rite, the Rose Parade (page, 1 NYT)

In Gloomy Economic Times, Santas Learn to Help by Curbing Expectations (section A – page 12, NYT )

Does anyone really believe sales were up 17%?

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

19 Responses to “More Black Friday Follies . . .”

  1. Randel says:

    No. Next week we will hear a different number. Then two weeks from now will hear about a bad run up to Christmas. Then we will hear it was a great Christmas sales weekend. Then we will hear the shopping season was longer or shorter than normal. This up-down or down-up news pattern happens every year. The real numbers will show up next March or April.

  2. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    Adjust the sales figures for sales per hour, as the sales from Thanksgiving are likely counted as part of Black Friday numbers. Furthermore, many people who in decades past would purchase gifts on Black Friday have been instead using that day as an opportunity to purchase bargain priced necessities, particularly since the onset of the 2008-2009 recession. This skews the numbers.

    Finally, regardless of whether the sales numbers are correct or not, the numbers need to be looked at in the context of year over year inflation, which is close to 5%.

  3. Market Panic says:

    Re: “Does anyone really believe sales were up 17%?”

    Yes, Bozo Pasani and Bimbo Bartiromo believe sales were up 17% (Why else would they repeat it 50+ times on CNBC with exuberant euphoric excitement?)

    BTW, US media (in particular opinionated NYT and WS propaganda poodle CNBC) does it all the time.

    Would you buy a stock tomorrow having such chart (tonight’s E-Mini S&P 500 price action with two-day bear rally trend-line violation and symmetric triangle breakout)?

  4. CardinalRam says:

    On Friday around noon, while getting a hair cut, I went by one our most upscale shopping areas. The parking lot was only about half full. Then Sunday morning, I went to a B&N to get some books for an upcoming travel week, and the parking lot at a major regional mall was only about 1/3 full. Two other malls in the general Denver area (where I live) are reporting an increase in traffic late Thursday night/early Friday morning, but I did not personally see any sign of a sustained “Black Friday” rush, much less one that carried on into the weekend….

  5. slowkarma says:

    I was working very late on Thanksgiving, and went out to an all-night grocery at about 2 a.m. on Friday. The grocery is across the freeway from a Target, and I looked over there as I was coming up exit ramp and said aloud, I promise you, “Holy sh*t, look at that.” There were so many cars in the parking lot that people were waiting in the street to get in. On my way back home, I encountered what I first thought was an accident scene, but it wasn’t — it was more cars waiting in the street to get into the gignormous Wal-Mart lot. It was absolutely unbelievable.

    This evening (Tuesday) I was packing up some boxes and had to go over to Target for supplies, at ~ 7 o’clock in the evening, and I don’t think the lot was 1/3 full. I thought, uh-oh. I crossed the freeway to swing past Wal-Mart, just to see what was happening there. Uh-oh.

    I think all the publicity for Black Friday worked. Here, though, it looks like everything went off the cliff over the weekend. The local Target has a cafe. When I went through at 7 o’clock tonight, there was exactly one person in it.


  6. theexpertisin says:

    I dunno…40%+ of the population thinks Obama is doing a good job.
    Anything, however farfetched, is possible.


    BR: That is simply partisanship at work. As he was leaving office, 40% thought Bush did a good job. You really only get party identification by asking that question. . .

  7. Market Panic says:

    A special Christmas edition (in green and red) for Santa Claus rally dreamers.

    Ho ho ho!

  8. bear_in_mind says:

    I was cozily sleeping Thanksgiving night because I’d locked-up 60-70 percent savings online between 11/20 and 11/23 on all the items I wanted. With free shipping to boot. If retailers made big profits on those sales, gawd bless ‘em… but somehow I really doubt it.

  9. dougc says:

    The country that should be prospering from the renewed consumer buying would be China. So why have the shipping rates from China to US have fallen 20% and from china to Europe by 35%. If you want something to worry about look at the Chinese stock market indexes, the CSI 300 at year lows and down +3% today.
    Europe is predicted to be in recession next year and ECRI point to a US recession.
    The market reacts to rumors of the EURO problem being solved while the creators of the EFSF admit they don’t know what leverage they can create but admit it will be less than 1 trillion EUROs.
    The ECB is going to loan money to IMF and they lend it to Italy, 2 problems IMF loans come with severe budget controls and the ECB is not a member of the IMF, so individual countries would be required to put up the money. Sounds easy but when the IMF increased their loan ability only Japan and a few other countries donated their quotas, the US, China and Germany have not.

  10. constantnormal says:

    Who cares about Black Friday, when more and more people are waking up to the fact that shopping on the web gets bigger savings — on anything that does not have substantial shipping costs — when you include Cyber Monday with Black Friday, the odds are good that there was a lot of credit expended … Although not-so-much in the profits generated area.

    At least inventories will be under control …

  11. Raleighwood says:

    I waited until Sunday – and then shopped local.

  12. Julia Chestnut says:

    I told my children years ago when they were small that Santa rarely brings things that a family can’t afford on their own – he doesn’t want to embarrass the parents. He’s not a rich uncle, he’s a Saint.

    Poor Santa. It’s a lot to juggle while trying not to get peed on.

    I can’t say how Black Friday turned out, but agree wholeheartedly that there is a relentless expansion of what gets included in that term. It’s simply never an apples/apples comparison, and it will always be revised down from the breathless hyperie of the first reports.

    I didn’t go out, so I can’t report what traffic looked like around here. But my area, formerly sheltered a good bit from the storm, is about to take a direct hit. The mood is not cheery.

  13. mathman says:

    i believe our “beacon of hope” to the world just went out:

    Widespread Police Use of Drones Coming Soon

    Happy Motoring and Newt:

    Have a good day people.

  14. rktbrkr says:

    A single swallow doth not spring make…

    Perhaps retailers have whipped shoppers into a one day, one weekend frenzy but people can’t spend what they don’t have – at least not anymore and it’s way too soon to gauge the entire christmas shopping season.

    The pictures of people waiting on line to buy chinese made gizmos on black Friday reminds me of the pictures of people waiting on line to buy Florida condos 7 years ago. (And at least they didn’t have to pepper spray the condo buyers!)

    It took a half dozen consecutive bad RE years to get NAR to fess up that the numbers they had been reporting had been skewed to the upside. Retailers report similar hopium, they gotta sell the sizzle.

    The internet has been the great equalizer for the consumer being able to do convenient real time pricing comparisons, god bless shopzilla!

  15. Transor Z says:

    Great comment, rktbrkr.

  16. ashpelham2 says:

    I was one of the idiots that went out into the freezing night on Thanksgiving. My wife is a sucker for a deal on anything, but she’s been whipped of her habit of spending what we don’t have. Now if I can whip myself for buying a used BMW 3series when the car I was driving, though 13 years old, just needed a new fuel pump.

    Let me report what I saw in metro Birmingham, AL on Thanksgiving night and the wee hours of black Friday.


    The people fighting to get their hands on cheap chinese junk at Wal Mart was interminable. I pulled into the parking lot because the spouse wanted to find some kid PJ’s on a great deal. Nevermind that they were probably made using lead-based die from China ;D She insisted that we go. Parking lot was spilling over into all businesses in the area. Walked into the store with great trepidation, after a 10 minute walk in the cold night from my remote parking spot. Once in the door, it was a sea of humanity. You simply could not move. Gridlocked aisles, people with terrible attitudes, and actual adults hanging on to displays that had not been opened up yet, as Wal Mart staggered their sale items throughout the period. DUMB idea. Plus, they never actually closed for Thanksgiving, so people had been there all evening on the day, waiting for the sale. Rediculous. We turned around and walked out.

    Target next door was a similar story, though much more orderly. Lines wrapped around the building for what I estimate to be over 1/2 mile. People lined up, not cars. When the doors opened, Target was metering people in, 50 at a time, with a 10 second break in between. Finally, the crowd was so overwhelming that the fire marshall, not present at Wal Mart, stopped allowing people in until he had counted 10 leaving. When we left Target at around 2am, there was still a respectably long line out the front door. The wait to check out was about 30 minutes. We found a handful of good Christmas deals, but it wasn’t exceptional. And not worth the trip.

    I vowed to never, ever, ever do this again.