Black Friday: More Shoppers Spent Less Money

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that traffic was up in stores around the country, but that shoppers were spending about 3.5% less per person than last year, or about $347.44.

“It’s kind of encouraging that Black Friday didn’t suck all the wind out of shoppers’ sails,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which monitors 45,000 retail outlets. The weekend turnout, he added, “bodes well for the holiday season.”

ShopperTrak found in-store sales Saturday were up 5.4% over last year and the Friday-Saturday total posted a 7.2% increase over 2006.

Online traffic rose 10% from a year earlier, according to data released Sunday from research firm Nielsen Online.

As in past years, “doorbuster” deals coaxed many to open their wallets. In addition to pushing flat-screen TVs, last year’s must-have item, retailers have used less expensive electronics to bait consumers who vow to spend less this year, Krugman said. Hot sellers included digital photo frames and cameras. Deals on laptops were also common.

Many shoppers who rushed to the stores early found only a handful of some advertised bargains in stock, said Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group. “There were a lot of unhappy customers,” he said, adding that some stores said they didn’t get their shipments.

Anecdotally, we popped into a few stores on Black Friday afternoon just to see what was what, and witnessed heaps of so-called doorbusters and very few shoppers. We overheard one Best Buy employee telling another that “it was completely dead today.”

We then bought a KitKat bar because there were tons of registers open and basically no line. Delicious.

Store traffic doesn’t let up
[LA Times]