In some locations, people pushed, shoved, and fought their way through the shopping aisles. In other locations, traffic was normal.
All in all, I suspect people once again bought more junk they do not need and cannot afford.
Here is a sampling of the news.
Walmart Processes 10 Million Transactions in 4 Hours
The New York Times reports Exhausted Shoppers Head Home, Replaced by the Next Wave.
While some malls across the country were busy during the traditional postholiday shopping on Friday, the crowds at others seemed sparse to some regular customers, who compared them to a regular weekend’s atmosphere. Perhaps it’s possible that the earlier Thanksgiving hours and the increase in online shopping — with so many e-tailers offering competitive deals — had lessened the desire to peruse racks of clothes inside some physical stores.
Still, customers sensed there were deals to be had on both days, and parking lots at some malls were jammed again on Friday. On both Friday and Thursday, some customers complained about their fellow shoppers. Holly Schneider, another shopper at the Leesburg outlets, said prices were far better than consumer behavior. “People are rude, just really rude,” Mrs. Schneider said. “There’s no personal space. It’s like you’re not even there. They’re bumping into you, knocking you down. They don’t see you. They see where they’re going.”
IPad Airs and several televisions sold out on Target.com by midmorning on Thursday. Walmart announced that the company had sold 1.4 million tablets on Thanksgiving Day. Walmart also said it had processed more than 10 million transactions at its registers from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, including lower-tech items like nearly two million dolls.
Over all, online sales were up nearly 10 percent over last year by Black Friday afternoon, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.
Walmart Black Friday Fight
What would Black Friday be without a fight?
Link if video does not play: Wal-Mart Black Friday Fight
Real Fight Was Online
The Wall Street Journal reports On Black Friday, the Real Fight Was Online.
Brick-and-mortar retailers mounted a furious defense on Black Friday to head off incursions into one of the industry’s biggest shopping days by such online rivals as Amazon.com Inc.
The tactics were evident in stores and on websites as millions of holiday shoppers lined up to spend their dollars on highly touted deals.
Chains like Macy’s Inc. opened on Thanksgiving for the first time, and giants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target moved their deals earlier Thursday, shifts intended to retrieve valuable shopping time that had been ceded to e-commerce, where the doors never close.
Best Buy Co. kept some deals hidden until customers showed up at stores, and retailers put more deals on the Web to better compete with Amazon on its own playing field.
In the early predawn hours of Thanksgiving, Jason Goldberger huddled with his team on the 20th floor of a Target Corp. building in Minneapolis to make sure everything was ready at the chain’s most important store: Target.com.
Mr. Goldberger, who runs Target’s website and mobile business, arrived at 2 a.m., His staff split into two conference rooms. One held a technology team responsible for the workings of the site. The other had people comparing Target’s deals with offers from Amazon.com and Walmart.com.
Such big retailers as Wal-Mart and Target continue to struggle to keep up with Amazon on the Web. Despite years of effort, online sales still typically account for only around 2% of sales for the two chains.
But both companies are investing heavily to catch up. Target expects to spend more on technology next year than it does building and upgrading new stores. This year, it made virtually all of its Black Friday deals available online.
Store chains used rolling discounts to keep shoppers lingering and competitors’ guessing. On Friday at 8 a.m. Wal-Mart started “Manager’s Specials,” which included unannounced promotions set by individual store managers who received a set budget to spur sales.
Flagging bargains too early risks having competitors match or beat prices. Market Track LLC, which tracks pricing on the Web, said Best Buy had advertised a Samsung gas range for $699 in its Black Friday flier. On Wednesday, Sears dropped its price for the oven to $599. By Thursday, Best Buy and hhgregg Inc. had matched the lower price.
It’s far too early to tell if stores actually did better than last year or not. The answer depends on what people bought: loss leader sales items, stuff in general, or high-markup items.
According to a couple of close friends, store traffic was lighter than usual in my area, at least later in the day. I did not venture out personally.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock