Thursday’s chain-store sales data confirmed initial reports of a shopping frenzy over the Black Friday weekend following Thanksgiving, even though the number of Americans filing jobless claims data rose last week.
The Thomson Reuters same-store sales index, based on 27 retailers reporting, showed an increase of 6% for November, versus analysts’ expectations for only a 3.6% gain.
The index confirmed the National Retail Federation’s Black Friday survey predicting that more shoppers visited stores and websites over the weekend—and spent more—than a year ago. A total of 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the weekend, up from 195 million last year, the survey said. People also spent more, with the average shopper spending $365.34, up from last year’s $343.31. Total spending reached an estimated $45.0 billion.
Retailers ranging from department store chain Macy's, discounter Target and teen clothier Abercrombie & Fitch all reported far bigger-than-expected gains in sales at stores open at least year, Reuters reported.
“This was a huge day for a lot of retailers, even with the promotions,” said Chandi Neubauer, a retail analyst with New York-based ITG Investment Research, on Thursday. “Where historically promotions have often looked desperate and felt kind of sad, the promotions that we saw over Black Friday weekend were exciting and punchy and fun. While the markdowns may have been similar to when retailers were just trying to get inventory out the door no matter what it took, the mood has just been a lot more upbeat.”
American shoppers have proved to be undaunted by the nation’s high jobless rate, Neubauer added.