Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Although I will mostly be avoiding the crowds today, I'm going to be fighting my way through the masses on Saturday. It's an experience like no other: There's an "end of the world" feeling when you're in the middle of a mob of women who are trying to buy the last wind-up fake hamster on the shelf.

As for me, I won't be buying much of anything at all. However, I love the hustle and bustle (perhaps it comes from years of retail management). This is the day that retailers often can breathe a sigh of relief. It's called "Black Friday" for a reason: It's the day that merchants finally go into the "black" and out of the "red" that they've been suffering through all year long.

There are predictions that this year will be better than last year. How could it not? Last year was the worst Black Friday in thirty years (according to the news last night).

Then again, experts argue that online retail is now where consumers are turning. This is good news for those of us who sell on Ebay. I don't sell much, but I am now frantically gathering up odds and ends of things that I meant to put on Ebay in the past: It's time to sell, people, sell!

One of the things that will drive online sales is the retailers' desire to lose as little money as possible. Therefore, stock is down, prices are up, and retailers are hoping they won't have to budge much on price this year. I even heard a commercial on the radio in which the head of a major chain is encouraging shoppers to buy what they want now, as they might not find it later. Good luck with that con. Let's see how gullible American shoppers are this year.


daveawayfromhome said...

Christmas at Chez Dave this year is going to be lean, really lean. It's never been particularly fatty, but it'll be worse this year. I stayed home today (Friday), and I'll probably stay home tomorrow, too.

As for ebay, I hear ya, and am a-gathering myself.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Sales projections are actually lower for this year than last year.

A lot of the idiots that were out today were looking for the doorbuster deals - which are limited in quantity. No doubt, people plan to get the doorbuster items then sell them on E-Bay.

Predictions actually called for a Blue Friday. Not exactly black, but not exactly red either.

Unemployment is still high, many investments are still down, and many people are not exactly feeling very much job security. All this is factored into this years sales predictions.

Retailers, as you mentioned, are not carrying a massive inventory. They pay attention to sales forecasts too.

All in all, I am not really expecting this year to be that hot. A booming holiday sales period will be a trailing indicator of a full recovery. First investments have to return to where they were, then jobs have to come back, then people need to pay down debt they ran up while unemployed, people who lost homes and cars will need to get back into a decent place to live and a decent car to get around in, and THEN people can blow wads of cash on Christmas.

The good news here is that house starts for new and existing homes are way up for this month. Existing home sales are up some 10%! That is a good sign.

But before trailing indicators can change directions, leading indicators have to be up for an extended period of time.

Ed said...

I've been wondering if people are buying that windup hampster because the media says it is hot or because they actually want one and thus making it hot? I'm leaning for the former.

I got all my Christmas shopping done last month online so that I can avoid the stores for this coming month. That's how I roll.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I went to a Best Buy today (Saturday) after work.

No lines at checkout, plenty of stuff left on the floor. I only found one tag reading "sold out" - and that was for a $99 Garmin GPS.

Not exactly a promising sign..

Saur♥Kraut said...

Dave, Yes, it will be lean here, too. On the other hand, it's hard to stay away from really, really good deals (like a ring I recently bought from the HSN Outlet) so I'm awfully glad that the bargains aren't out there.

Lazy, Were they projected lower? I had heard just the opposite. I had never heard they were predicted to result in a "Blue" Friday, either! Where are you getting your news? Your source must be better than mine.

All I heard was optomistic projections. On the other hand, I'm sure that the retailers were feeding them to the news sources as fast as they could swallow it. And, news sources are only puff PR pieces these days: When they have to deliver bad news, they put on a frownie face and deliver it dutifully. But most of the time, it's easier to report what you're fed (and report the fluff).

You know, it was so weird: Friday was dead in many places. Saturday our malls looked like the malls on a regular weekend in Miami (in other words, busy). But Sunday you could walk through the malls and holler and hear the echoes. OK, I'm exaggerating a wee bit, but basically Sunday was like any other Sunday.

Ed, I wondered the same thing about the hamster. I don't see the charm of it, but then again, I house a ton of animals because my daughter had to have naked rats, I had to have a Brazilian opossum, my best friend has hermit crabs and keeps them at MY house(?) and I have three dogs. Thank goodness I have a big house.