“Black Weekend” Totals: Retail Sales Up, Store Shopper Traffic Down

BlackWeekendChicago–It’s a weekend that retailers anticipate and dissect to figure out where trends may be taking their business. And Black Weekend this year offered some mixed results.

After releasing Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday results on Monday, ShopperTrak, a leading provider of shopper analytics, reported today full Black Weekend (Nov. 28 to Dec. 1) results.

From Thursday to Sunday, sales at brick-and-mortar retailers increased 1% to an estimated $22.2 billion. Retail shopper traffic decreased 4% to an estimated 1.8 billion store visits.

Apparel Sales Jump

According to ShopperTrak, Thanksgiving Day accounted for 10% of the four-day weekend’s retail traffic in 2013. Though combined Thursday and Friday’s sales and traffic increased when compared to last year, both Saturday and Sunday saw store traffic and sales tail off and drop.

“Retailers stretched Black Friday deals and promotions across November–removing the focus from just one big day of shopping,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “Shoppers, in turn, paced themselves. They spread their shopping and spending not just across the holiday weekend, but also into the days and weeks before it, contributing to a decrease in last weekend’s shopper traffic. Customers also researched store merchandise online first and more often came to stores ready to buy particular products.”

A bright spot for many retailers evidently was apparel (including accessories) which posted a 9.4% increase from last year. Meanwhile, another Black Weekend favorite, electronics were down 6.5%.

Martin attributed the apparel sales gain to the low comp figures from last year when a warm fall and winter hampered apparel sales during holiday. And so many electronics sales wind up online whereas consumers still prefer to touch and feel their apparel purchases.

Another metric that Martin points out as key for retailers is the number of stores shoppers visit. Since they conduct so much pre-research etc. online, they narrow the number of retailer they tend to visit during Black Weekend. “If you look at 2007, the average number of stores visited was between 4 to 4.5 stores. Last weekend, that figure was down to 3 to 3.5 stores.”

Super Saturday to Come

Consumers no longer wonder aimlessly, Martin said. They target their shopping. “For the retailer that means if you don’t convert that customer, you stand the change of losing not only their sale, but possibly their lifelong interest in a retailer.” In other words, a retailer cannot afford to disappoint shoppers.

Although Black Weekend may be the granddaddy of holiday sales periods, it is by no means the end of blockbuster sale days. Indeed, ShopperTrak forecasts that Super Saturday (Dec. 21) and Sunday, Dec. 22 will be the second busiest weekend of the holiday season.

Other Black Weekend tabulations: in-store shopper traffic and sales by region, compared to Black Weekend in 2012, was as follows:

Regional Traffic

Midwest: decreased 5.4%

Northeast: decreased 9.8%

South: decreased 2.3%

West: no change

Regional Sales

Midwest: decreased 2.9%

Northeast: decreased 1%

South: increased 1.8%

West: increased 5.5%

www.shoppertrak.com.

 

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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com