Black Friday Wrap

November 29, 2008

Will post relevant news/stats here:

Big sales, but what about profits? Reports Best Sales Day in Company History (MarketWatch – 12/1)

US Retail Stocks Fall on Holiday Shopping Worries (CNBC – 12/1)

Holiday Central 08 – CNBC

Holiday Sales Views Still Weak After Weekend Rush (CNBC – 11/30) – “According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), shoppers spent an average of 7.2 percent more per person to nearly $373 during the four-day holiday weekend from U.S. Thanksgiving on Thursday through Sunday. Total spending was $41 billion.  More than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites during that time, up from 147 million a year ago, the NRF said. Excluding repeat visits, the number of people who shopped over the weekend rose to 110 million from 99.5 million a year ago. But the NRF kept its forecast for total holiday sales growth of 2.2 percent to $470.4 billion, saying consumers had done more of their shopping in the Black Friday weekend in the past. Momentum is likely to drop sharply in the coming weeks and stores may need to offer even more aggressive discounts.”

Holiday season off to a modest start (AP – 11/30) – “ComScore, an Internet research company, reported Sunday that online spending was up a modest 2 percent for the combined Thanksgiving Day and Friday, compared with the year-ago period.”

Wii leads the way on healthy Black Friday ( – 11/30) – Pricegrabber says traffic up 11% y/y

Black Friday Web sales jump (Reuters – 11/29) “PayPal, an online payments service owned by eBay, saw almost 34 percent more transactions this Black Friday than a year earlier, eBay said on Saturday. PayPal saw sales rise 26 percent on Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday that traditionally kicks off the U.S. holiday shopping season. PayPal said its sales numbers reflected 12 percent of all U.S. e-commerce. said Apple Inc’s iPod touch was the top-selling electronics item on Friday morning, followed by a Canon Inc PowerShot camera. Wii Fit and the Wii console were the top-selling items in the video game category, while the LeapFrog Tag Reading System was the best-selling toy.”

Black Friday sales chalk up 3% gain from last year (MarketWatch – 11/30)

Black Friday takes a hit from the economy ( – 11/29)

Holiday Sales Blog (WSJ – 11/28)

All Eyes on Holiday Shopping Turnout in Bleak Economy (NYTimes – 11/28)

Live Cashback Having a Bad Black Friday (TechCrunch – 11/28)

US shoppers seek deals, buy less on Black Friday (Reuters – 11/28)

Apple offers limited Black Friday price cuts (Reuters – 11/28)

Shoppers cautious with gadget buys on Black Friday (Yahoo! Tech – 11/28)

Black Friday traffic takes down (Yahoo! Tech – 11/28)

Shoppers hit stores but mood is subdued (WSJ)

Retail in Big Trouble

November 29, 2008

I might be re-stating the obvious, but retail sales potential is getting bleaker and bleaker, IMHO.

In my annual ritual of visiting stores on Black Friday, my initial impression is that the 2008 version should be renamed Black and Blue Friday.  I stopped by a bunch of stores this morning to check out the foot traffic. Best Buy, HomeGoods, TJ Max, Road Runner Sports, Golfsmith, Circuit City, Office Depot all seemed slow.  The sales associates confirmed my suspision.

While 42-50″ HD TVs were ‘flying off the shelves’ at Best Buy, that might only have been because of the steep discounts Best Buy is offering. In the last couple years, I remember seeing at least a couple ‘must have’ products out of stock at every store…didn’t seem to be the case this year.  At Golfsmith and Road Runner Sports, sales clerks were twiddling their thumbs.  HomeGoods & TJ Max felt slower than they would on a normal day in June.

This is obviously just one view after a couple hours at 2 shopping centers, but I will not be surprised if we see additional downward revisions in the next week.  And yes, soon all reporters will transition to talking about the amazing sales/deals/promos for Cyber Monday, but I don’t think that’s going to stem the carnage for any retailer.

Kelkoo Actually Sold

November 21, 2008

Kelkoo has been searching for a home for over a year (some great links in the comments).  According to TechCrunch, Kelkoo has sold to a UK Private Equity firm for less than 100mm Euro (where the heck is the Euro symbol, WordPress?).  In the TechCrunch post is the internal announcement from Kelkoo.  TechCrunch also points to a blog post by the (obviously not happy with Yahoo!) former Kelkoo CEO, Pierre Chappaz.  Here’s the babel fishd version of the post.

Yahoo! originally bought Kelkoo for 475mm Euro.  Ouch.

Doom and Gloom for Retail Sales (Online and Offline)

November 14, 2008

This economy is horrible, and I think it will get much worse next year.

While I haven’t seen revisions of the rosy 10%+ growth predictions for online sales from a number of research firms, Piper Jaffray’s October Research report on ‘The Turbulent teen years of eCommerce’ explains the harsh reality of the current economic environment.  While Piper Jaffray expects “online sales to continue to take consumer wallet share from bricks and mortar stores, growing 5%-6% faster than total retail sales in the near term,” that doesn’t mean much when total retail sales are slumping dramatically:

According to the commerce department (via Market Watch), online sales, excluding auto sales, dropped 2.2%. “Sales of durable goods remained weak. Sales at furniture stores dropped 2.8%, sales at electronics and appliance stores fell 2.3%, and sales at hardware stores fell 0.4%.  Sales at the mall were horrible. Department store sales dropped 1.3%, clothing store sales fell 1.4%, and sporting and hobby stores sales fell 1.6%.”

So back to Piper Jaffray’s report.  According to Gene Munster’s team, eCommerce sales “will decrease 2% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2008, and will be flat in 2009 before turning the corner and growing 5% in 2010 when the economy recovers.”  Take that in for a second.  We’re not talking about the 17-21% growth (increase) we saw from the 4th quarter of 2006 to the fourth quarter of 2007, but a drop.  Ok, sometimes I spell out the obvious over and over again, but I want to be extremely clear here.

Forget about Wall Street for a second (although not entirely).  This economy is driven by consumers.  Consumers who are over their heads in debt, with rising credit card rates (Citigroup will not be the last to raise rates), who don’t have jobs (this number will rise), whose houses are underwater.

Or just put it this way, no job –> no money –> no sales (online or offline) –> no good for businesses –> which leads to more businesses going under –> more job cuts.

Techcrunch might have the layoff tracker, but I think we need the retail distress tracker.  Circuit City is the first victim…and the holiday season hasn’t even started.  Who’s next?


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