A good point here from Mike O’Rourke of BTIG regarding the headlines that Black Friday shopping jumped only 0.5%:
The early headlines on Black Friday activity have commenced. ShopperTrak noted that Black Friday sales only rose 0.3%, while traffic rose 2.2%. We would note that by ShopperTrak’s calculations, Black Friday sales grew throughout the recession, 3% in 2008 and 0.5% in 2009, so 2010 is a record number. We think Black Friday sales probably became a more predominant influence on the holiday selling season during the recession as consumers relied upon deals. For example, although Black Friday sales grew throughout 2008 and 2009, overall holiday sales contracted 5.5% and 0.4% respectively according to ShopperTrak. Although the 2010 Black Friday growth appears uninspiring, there are a number of positive underlying metrics to this holiday season. There is the increase in traffic, and increases in purchases for oneself and sales in the first two weeks of November were up over 6% year over year.