News / Economy

Will Thanksgiving Shopping Binge Become Black Friday Hangover?

People shop inside a Target store during Black Friday sales in Brooklyn, New York, Nov. 29, 2013.
People shop inside a Target store during Black Friday sales in Brooklyn, New York, Nov. 29, 2013.
Reuters
An early start to this year's U.S. holiday Shopping season may not necessarily ring-up bigger holiday sales for retailers. Eager to entice cautious consumers, especially with six fewer shopping days this year than in 2012, many retailers offered sales on Thanksgiving, traditionally a day for family, friends and football games.

Even Macy's flagship store in New York opened at 8 p.m., the first time ever on the American holiday. As a result, some U.S. shoppers may have hit malls and stores on Thanksgiving, rather than during the traditional “Black Friday” blitz.

By late morning, the number of shoppers in many stores more closely resembled a normal Saturday than the usual frenzied Black Friday kickoff to the holiday season. 

“It's a lot less than I thought,” said Alison Goodwin, from Horsham, Pennsylvania, who ventured to the Willow Grove Park mall the day after Thanksgiving in search of holiday gifts and maybe a treat for herself. “It's like any weekend in December,” Goodwin said of the size of the crowd.  

Terry Lundgren, Macy's Inc Chief Executive, said the Thanksgiving flagship Manhattan store opening lured an estimated 15,000 shoppers. Roughly 11,000 shoppers turned out at the store for last year's Black Friday midnight open.

“It's not just spreading out traffic over last year but it's also increasing it,” Lundgren said of the department store overall. He declined to say how much he expects the additional shopping to increase sales. 

The National Retail Federation is predicting that holiday sales will increase a marginal 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, leaving retailers to battle for a bigger slice of that somewhat larger pie.

This year's holiday shopping results likely will mimic the slow-growing U.S. economy and leave little to write home about, said Can Erbil, an adjunct associate professor of economics at Boston College.

“Last year's shopping season was actually pretty bad. The Connecticut school shootings, Hurricane Sandy, and fiscal cliff fears really hit the shopping season hard. So the benchmark is low,” Erbil said.

Thanksgiving proved bright for one sliver of retail - online sales. Overall Thanksgiving online sales were up 19.7 percent from last year and the average order value was $127.59, according  to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.   

Early Black Friday turnout was thin at Willow Grove Park mall, in a Philadelphia suburb. Early morning shoppers included Emily Arkowitz and Ashlee Ryan, two friends on their first-ever Black Friday excursion and browsing at an H&M clothing store at 7:30 a.m. EST. 

“We walked in thinking that all the clothes would be gone,” said Arkowitz of Haverton, Pennsylania.

The store sold out of many specials, according to a manager, but many Black Friday deals were still advertised on clothing racks, including a $4.95 sweater and $14.95 dress.  

Turned off by crowds and last night's long lines at a nearby Abercrombie & Fitch, Pranav Trivedi, a shopper from Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, went home, napped, and returned early on Friday.

“I didn't want to waste my time like that,” he said. While shoppers snapped up sale priced flat-screen televisions at stores like Target, Walmart and Best Buy - not everyone was impressed by the “deals” being touted by retailers.    

For Luis Figueiro, a retired Brazilian on vacation in New York, Black Friday ended early. “This is madness,” he said, sitting in a massage chair, pointing at the crowd at Macy's flagship store on Thanksgiving night. There are so many people here, you can't see any of the things on sale.”

His wife, Irene, traveled with him from Rio with Black Friday deals in mind, but was disappointed to find that many items were not discounted.  

“If someone comes without a clear notion of prices, it awakens something in you. But if you know what the items usually cost, you aren't fazed,” she said. 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc U.S. Chief Executive Bill Simon said Thanksgiving visits to its stores surpassed last year's 22 million mark, although a swarm of online shoppers crashed its online site. 

“We are encouraged by the start to the Black Friday shopping weekend,” Simon told CNN.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mr. Walton from: USA
November 30, 2013 1:34 PM
The Department of Homeland Security is encouraging Americans to snitch on each other if they see anything “suspicious” at malls and shopping centres in New Hampshire this holiday season.

The agency is urging shop owners and shoppers to “report suspicious activity to local authorities”, as well as ramping up display propaganda, as part of its ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign.

“At DHS, homeland security begins with hometown security. We’re all safer when everyone is alert and engaged…” an Orwellian sounding press release from the DHS states.

Several businesses have joined forces with the DHS to promote the snitch program, they include Mall of America, Walmart, Simon Property Group and the Building Owners and Managers Association.



Former DHS head Janet Napolitano announced an expansion of the ‘See Something…’ campaign into shopping centres in 2010.

The press release states that the overall purpose is to “raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities.”

The FBI is also taking part in the campaign, with the businesses also carrying out “training exercises”. It is not clear what the drills consist of.

“We have seen the value of public vigilance in thwarting terrorism and crime time and again, so remember: if you see something that doesn’t look right, report it to local authorities,” writes John Cohen, principal deputy under secretary of DHS for intelligence and analysis and counterterrorism coordinator.

“When we each do our part, we are working together to keep our nation safe, one hometown at a time.” the statement concludes.

As previously reported, the ‘See Something…’ campaign has been expanded to all walks of life in America beyond transport hubs, into malls, onto the streets and even into sports events.

For several years now, the DHS has been broadcasting eerie big brother style messages on huge TVs in Walmart at checkout lanes.


As also highlighted in the past, actually “saying something” to the DHS will pretty much land you in a bureaucratic nightmare. You’ll find it extremely difficult to get hold of a real person and will be pretty much shunted around between federal and local law enforcement.

While the DHS may not be that interested in hearing from people who have “seen something”, they are very interested in anyone who vocally opposes their stasi-style snitch campaign.

Last year hundreds of pages of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the DHS went out of its way to monitor political opposition to the campaign, as well as tracking stories and user comments on a myriad of other issues while categorizing websites as “Right Wing Terrorism”.

It doesn’t seem to matter that you are more than a thousand times more likely to die in a car accident than in a terrorist attack. Regardless of the fact that Americans are more likely to die from a bee sting or drowning in the bath than from terrorism, people are suckers for government propaganda. If the government tells them terrorists are a threat, they usually believe it despite the fact dying or even getting injured in a terrorist attack is at best a remote possibility.

America in 2013 is all about being guilty until proven innocent and the complete evisceration of what the country is supposed to stand for in the pursuit of unobtainable “security”.

Well, with that, I'll be a part of the "see something, say something" campaign right now! I know for a FACT that the CIA is funding Al Qaeda from offshore banks, and the whole "war on terror" is PHONY!!!

by: LOST Nation from: USA
November 30, 2013 12:02 PM
We are a nation of empty people desperately looking for contentment in material things. Zombification of the general public in regard to our consumerist culture and being manipulated by the mass media and global elite to incite our primal animal instincts for products we don’t actually need are prevalent in the sick behaviors at local stores. If people act like this for a gadget you don't need, what will they act like when a staged food shortage by the regime inevitably happens? Rack up your credit card debt, and stand in line with a bunch of soul-less zombies that have lost all perspective on what is important and what is not. TRUTH IS TREASON IN THE AMERICAN EMPIRE OF MATERIALISM. Soon your Almighty dollar will be worth NOTHING, just wait.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9205
JPY
USD
123.69
GBP
USD
0.6508
CAD
USD
1.2456
INR
USD
64.051

Rates may not be current.