This past Friday marked a record breaker edition of Black Friday. Total sales rose 6.6% to $11.4 billion and even experienced a rise in foot traffic, suggesting more people were generally out and shopping. This kind of activity is certainly a relief to the industry, which in particular has been hit hard by the stagnating economy. This helped push retail stocks up by 3.2% in the S&P Retail Index, signaling the single biggest one-day percentage increase since this past August. This is certainly a relief for retailers but is it enough to aid them, or just something to look forward to?
With such intense advertisement promotions, one cannot blame the industry for a lack of effort. With many prime retailers opening up at midnight and more and more business attempting to make the shopping experiences easier (including smart phone apps, allowing customers to more easily shop for sales), this Black Friday truly was excellently orchestrated. The problems, however, lay in some of the more fundamental ways in which people shop. Recent efforts in simplifying internet transactions has moved business online. And while a sale is still a sale, it does leave the brick-and-mortar establishments oddly out of synch.
Still, as Cyber Monday rages in full swing, it does appear to be a much-needed grace to the stock market. Furthermore, Black Friday, in reality, is not necessarily just one day. Rather, it more symbolizes the start of holiday shopping and ever more sales. From there, I guess we can just count our fortunes in the New Year.