December 2, 2002
Good Weekend Kicks Off Holiday Sales
General retail sales were strong over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the Wall Street Journal. Retail sales for Friday notched an estimated $7.4 billion, a 12.3% increase over 2001, reported Shopper Trak, a Chicago retail tracking and consulting firm. Estimated Saturday sales were 5.2 billion, a 9% increase over 2001. Sales figures were best in the South, West and Midwest, with the Northeast slightly lower. ShopperTrak surveys are based on U.S. Commerce Department statistics and point-of-sale data from more than 30,000 retail outlets.
The National Retail Federation also reported that 75.6% of consumers were out shopping on the Thanksgiving weekend. but only 8% of shoppers said they were finished with their holiday shopping, said NRF.
Discount sellers, as expected, racked up the biggest sales, with Wal-Mart leading the pack. Its sales of $1.43 billion were up 14% from last year's tally for the day after Thanksgiving. Department store sales were flatter, though Sears and J.C. Penney both told WSJ they had increases. Other big chains like Neiman Marcus Group and Federated Department Stores declined to give figures. NRF data showed that while half of consumers shopped at discount outlets, nearly 30% also shopped in specialty stores and a third shopped online.
Internet shoppers bought an estimated $150.9 million on Friday, up 40% from 2001, which had also been a banner year for online sales, due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The figures for online sales were compiled by ComScore Networks, a Reston, VA, firm that tracks online sales (the data for Friday sales excluded sales at travel and auction sites, said ComScore).
Selling well in stores were the expected home electronics and accessories, said many stores. NRF data showed that books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games were hot, as were clothing and accessories, home decor and/or home-related furnishings. Online retailers did well with electronics and apparel.
The National Retail Federation projects consumers will spend almost 4% more on average than last year.