November 30, 2007
O.K., I confess: I am one of the millions of Americans who feels an obligation to shop the day after Thanksgiving. No malls for me, but I do try to do my part to contribute to the state’s economic growth.
Retailers statewide were holding their breath to see how consumers would spend on Black Friday. Black Friday is so named because it traditionally marks the day when retailers move out of the red and into the black and marks the first day of the four-week pre-Christmas shopping spree which can sometimes account for 50 percent of a retailer’s annual profit.
Despite the predictions, I was not the only one shopping on Friday, and shoppers still turned out in record numbers. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, more than 147 million shoppers hit the stores over the weekend, up 4.8 percent over 2006. The shoppers spent an average of $347.44 which was down 3.5 percent from 2006 but still up 14.8 percent over 2005. The increased traffic helped retailers make up for the decrease in per-consumer spending, and the Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales will rise 4 percent this year to $4.75 billion. For more, click here.
Black Friday is followed by another recent phenomenon, Cyber Monday, and according to a Shop.org survey, 72 million consumers planned to shop online Monday. Last year, that number was 60.7 million, and in 2005, it was 59 million. All together, 31.9 percent of adults were planning to shop on Cyber Monday. This new shopping holiday has become such an event that there’s even a website alerting shoppers to the best deals available in cyber space: www.cybermonday.com.
Economists will continue to track these indicators as signs of economic health of the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, retail trade sales were up 0.1 percent from September 2007 and were 5.1 percent above last year. At the website for the Economic and Statistics Administration, you can find charts with information on retail sales, e-commerce sales, residential construction and more. Click here to learn more.
Retail spending is just one indicator of economic health, and the early signs of the holidays show renewed confidence. That’s good news for Florida’s businesses and professionals.
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