Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wal-Mart, Target Report Strong Holiday Sales as Electronics Entice Consumers

Suck it, capitalist-hating leftists.

At WSJ, "Black Friday Bargains Lure Shoppers to Stores, Online":

Consumers proved loyal to the annual "Black Friday" ritual—even if that meant shopping Thursday.

Customers shopped at stores and online in numbers that retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +0.10%  and Target Corp. TGT -0.75%  bragged about, lured by cut-price televisions and videogame consoles even as the Thanksgiving Day purchasing interrupted many turkey dinners across the country.

"It's all the thrill—the thrill of the shop," said Eduardo Cintron, a student from Acton, Mass., who braved below-freezing temperatures Thursday to get his spot in line for Best Buy's BBY +2.37%  1 a.m. deal to buy a home speaker system. On top of the deals, Mr. Cintron said he liked meeting his fellow bargain-hunters. "If I shopped online, you don't get that," he said.

On the other coast, Erin Swanson, a 41-year-old accountant, browsed blouses Friday morning at a San Francisco-area Macy's M -0.52%  before heading over to Ann Taylor. "I am here at 6 in the morning," she said, "I know I am insane."

Wal-Mart said it recorded more than 10 million register transactions between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday in its stores and nearly 400 million page views that day on It sold 2.8 million towels, 2 million televisions, 1.4 million tablets, 300,000 bicycles and 1.9 million dolls. Big-ticket electronics like big-screen TVs and new videogame consoles were among the top sellers.

Target said sales were among the highest it had seen in a single day online, and it booked twice as many orders on its website as last year in the early hours when door-busters became available.

The annual ritual that is "Black Friday" persists, in some cases defying logic as well as the calendar. Stores have been trotting out holiday deals since Halloween, most of the offerings are available online and many of the discounts are illusory bargains on goods designed to be cheap. But shopping now is as traditional to Thanksgiving as mashed potatoes and gravy.

Nancy Ketchen of Scotia, N.Y., stayed true to her family tradition of bringing her daughters to the Crossgates Mall in Albany on Black Friday. They shop, have lunch and then head to a nearby Target, a tradition that she says is more important than getting a better price Thursday evening or online. Her two daughters bought outfits for Christmas Day at Forever 21.

"Sometimes you can get a better deal on Amazon," she said. "We've been doing this for 5 or 6 years. It's fun."

Despite the activity at stores, there was early evidence that many stayed home to shop deals online. By 6 p.m. Thursday, Thanksgiving online sales had increased 10% this year over the same period last year, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks transactions at 800 U.S. retail sites.

About 140 million people are expected to shop over this holiday weekend, a decline from the 147 million who planned to do so last year, according to the National Retail Federation. The trade group said that nearly a quarter of the people it surveyed planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Shoppers spent about $60 billion during the Black Friday weekend last year and more than 40% of that spending occurred online, according to the federation.
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