Black Friday Off To A Weakish Start

They’re there, they’re just buying less.

WSJ: Shoppers turned out for another Black Friday, but based on early anecdotes, they appear to be a choosier bunch than they were last year, more likely to pick off targeted items than to fill up shopping carts while browsing.

Analysts are concerned the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season is more likely to cap a punishing year for retailers than push them into the black. Consumers have been favouring chains like Wal-Mart that offer the deepest discounts, and the price cuts needed to lure buying elsewhere are crushing margins.

It’s a very focused consumer this year,” said Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group. “They are going in, getting what they want, and if it’s not there, leaving, in a lot of cases without buying much else.”

Mr. Beemer also there appear to be about 10% fewer shoppers hitting the stores. He based his assessments on own observations in the Orlando, Fla., area and input from his staff who are out in other parts of the country.

…”People will go out and shop because it’s almost a family tradition,” said Ken Murphy, a research analyst and fund manager for Standard Life Investments in Boston, “they’ll just be buying fewer items.”

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