Black Friday Sets Tone for Promotional Holiday
Marshal Cohen, an industry analyst with research firm NPD Group, says the last time he saw retailers be this promotional ahead of the holidays was in 2001, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the dot-com crash that brought down the economy.
He sees little reason to be hopeful about the holidays, noting a lack of appealing merchandise to drive foot traffic into stores.
"There's an absence of must-haves -- we haven't enticed the consumer," Cohen says. "What's going on out there other than
Cohen expects holiday sales to increase by only 2.5% to 3%, compared with the National Retail Federation's forecast for a 4% increase. As for Black Friday, he expects heavy promotions to be one of the only ways for retailers to unload their inventories."I'm calling it Gray Friday this year because it's not as robust," he says. But while Black Friday will likely set the tone for the holiday season, it is not the heaviest sales volume day for retailers, points out Craig Johnson, president of research firm Customer Growth Partners. That comes later -- usually the last Saturday before Christmas. "Black Friday is always important but people tend to make it over-important," Johnson says. Likewise, Cyber Monday, or the Monday after Thanksgiving, is not the biggest online shopping day despite all the hype surrounding it. However, the National Retail Federation expects the Internet to claim 30.2% of holiday sales this year, up from 28.9% last year, and many retailers will offer one-day promotions and special offers on Cyber Monday to get things started. Johnson is taking an optimistic view of the holidays. He sees a 5% to 5.4% increase in holiday sales this year, predicting that steady employment and income growth will keep customers shopping. "As long as they have jobs, they have income," Johnson says. "And as long as they have income, they buy stuff."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV