Early feedback on this year's Black Friday performance for the nation's retailers is encouraging. Sales rose to $10.6 billion, up from $10.3 billion last year. Any increase is good news as retailers braced for the worst in the face of an economy that has been now officially deemed to be in recession.
The bad news? The cost of attaining the sales increase means lower profits. Retailers had to aggressively lower prices and use other incentives to lure shoppers into their stores. The result is a hit on retailers' profit margins. The challenge faced by many retailers is the lead time required to place orders. Orders placed for this Christmas season were placed several months ago, in many cases before retailers were fully aware of the economic train wreck that was about to happen. Now, with inventory on hand, the choice is to forgo profit margins and move product or not budge much on price and take a bath in an even deeper sea of red ink.
The big winners? You and I. We need a break from rising prices, and the battle for our holiday shopping dollars means we should continue to see attractive prices through the end of the year.
Link: USA Today - "Early Data Show Strong Black Friday"