News / Economy

US Holiday Weekend Sales Dip; E-commerce Jumps

Shoppers troll for sales at Cherry Creek Mall, in Denver, Colorado, Nov. 29, 2013.
Shoppers troll for sales at Cherry Creek Mall, in Denver, Colorado, Nov. 29, 2013.
Heavy discounting took a toll on U.S. retail sales during the Thanksgiving weekend as shoppers spent less than they did a year earlier, according to data released Sunday by an industry group.
 
That could be an indication of a more difficult season for many retailers. One bright spot this weekend, according to the data, was e-commerce as online sales soared.
 
The National Retail Federation estimated the average shopper spent $407.02 over the weekend, or 3.9 percent less than during the same weekend last year, because of lower prices it said would persist through the rest of the season.
 
“Retailers will continue to aggressively promote their in-store and online offerings, looking to entice today's very budget-conscious and value-focused shopper,” said NRF Chief Executive Matthew Shay.
 
The NRF said 141 million people went shopping at least once during the holiday weekend, up from 139 million last year. Total spending was expected to reach $57.4 billion for the four-day period - which includes Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year - down 2.8 percent from $59.1 billion over the same weekend in 2012.
 
The big deals will also dent profit margins, analysts said.
 
“Sales will go up, but gross margins are going to be down. 'Doorbusters' were what people were shopping for, more than the regular-priced stuff,” said Ron Friedman, retail practice leader at the consulting firm Marcum LLP.
 
The Thanksgiving weekend, anchored around Black Friday, is an early gauge of consumer mood and intentions in a season that generates about 30 percent of sales and nearly 40 percent of profit for retailers.
 
But many have given modest forecasts for the quarter. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it expects no growth in its comparable sales, and Macy's Inc. didn't raise its full-year sales forecast despite strong numbers last quarter.
 
The shorter holiday period this year - there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared with 2012 - prompted retailers to begin offering sales on Monday, something Shay said likely brought in some sales earlier in the week.
 
The NRF stuck to its forecast for retail sales to rise 3.9 percent for the whole season.
 
ComScore Inc., an analytics firm whose data is closely watched by Wall Street, said U.S. online sales rose 17.3 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, outpacing sales growth at brick-and-mortar stores.
 
Retailers are also being aggressive online as they look to benefit from Cyber Monday, which falls on Dec. 2 this year. Cyber Monday is the biggest sales day of the year for e-commerce.
 
J.C. Penney Co Inc. and Macy's were among retailers that had already begun their “Cyber Monday” sales on Sunday, looking to keep the momentum going. Target Corp. was calling the occasion “Cyber Week.”
 
“They're going to continue to trot out deals,” Moody's analyst Michael Zuccaro said.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7718
JPY
USD
107.32
GBP
USD
0.6125
CAD
USD
1.0974
INR
USD
60.919

Rates may not be current.