So much for the much-touted economic recovery.
The U.S. economy depends on consumerism, i.e., retail sales, for as much as 70%, and the bulk of retail sales is conducted in the all-important Christmas season that traditionally begins the day after Thanksgiving. That day is dubbed Black Friday because that’s when U.S. retail businesses begin to go into black, i.e., make profits, for the year.
Black Friday sales, therefore, are a bellwether for Christmas sales.
ZeroHedge reports, Nov. 30, 2014, that last year’s Black Friday retail sales were bad. This year is an outright disaster.
According to ShopperTrak data, the first two days of the holiday shopping season were already showing a -0.5% decline across bricks-and-mortar stores. But figures just released from the National Retail Federation (NRF), the traditionally cheery industry organization, show that:
- Sales during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday period crashed by a whopping 11% from last year’s: $57.4 billion to $50.9 billion.
- The number of Americans who went shopping over the four-day weekend declined 5.2% from last year‘s 141 million to 134 million.
- Shoppers spent an average of $380.95, down 6.4% from $407.02 a year earlier.
- There was a decline across virtually every tracked spending category, including online sales, as the NRF charts below demonstrate (source). Shoppers spent an average $159.55 online, down 10.2% from $177.67 last year.