Posted by Sara Zucker on December 4, 2009 11:56 AM
Consumers are wondering just how much damage was done during last week's Black Friday, but it's important to put all that shopping into perspective.
Retailers and luxury brands hoped shoppers would feel more comfortable in stores this season, as business seemed to be poised to pick up. But though Macy's and Saks have reported improvement, new statistics suggest that more is needed to show that this recession can be beat. November's luxury sales declined 7.3%, their first drop since August after gains in September and October, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.
"The [luxury] recovery may not have found sure footing," said Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research for the SpendingPulse report. In an interview, he noted that Black Friday's sales trends paled against last year's levels, when stores instituted discounts of more than 70% off to attract shoppers heading into the holiday season. "The season is still up for grabs."
Electronics sales for November increased 6.6%, and online sales were strong with a 12% increase. Jewelry was also a bright spot, showing a 4.6% gain, the most positive showing since July 2008.
"Retailers have to think about how to get smarter," said Bill Martin, co-founder of mall-traffic tracker ShopperTrak. "You are not just going to see consumers flocking back to the stores. They are clearly thinking about how they are spending money. They are visiting fewer stores."
With shoppers getting more and more picky about their purchases, companies are clearly getting a little nervous. Better start branding!