Black Friday indeed: for retail the pain is just starting

Nightmare on 34th Street Cards Fail at Macy’s on Black Friday 
  Mercator Overviews  by Brian Riley

Nightmare on 34th Street Cards Fail at Macy’s on Black Friday Mercator Overviews by Brian Riley

Macy's said about 16,000 shoppers had been lined up outside its flagship Herald Square store in Manhattan when doors opened at 5pm on Thursday for its Black Friday eve sale.

I have recommended both Mastercard (MA) and Visa (V) at various times over the past year and, as the charts below show, that has worked out pretty well so far. Online sales were reported at $5 billion on Black Friday, which is up 16.9% versus the same shopping day past year.

Many retailers launch their Black Friday discounting campaigns in advance of the day itself, extending the peak activity over a longer period.

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"There has been a significant amount of debate surrounding the shifting importance of brick-and-mortar retail, and the fact that shopper visits remained intact on Black Friday illustrates that physical retail is still highly relevant and, when done right, profitable", Field said. Nearly all online purchases use a card of some sort, and a survey by this year showed that overall around three quarters of purchases involve either a debit or credit card, Interestingly, despite the emergence of digital wallets, that number is still increasing as cash usage dwindles.

Experts are predicting that this Cyber Monday could be the biggest in its 12-year history. Sears Holdings Corp. saw same-store sales fall 17 percent at its flagship chain last quarter and 13 percent at its Kmart brand.

According to a Holiday Report from Astound Commerce, 70 percent of shoppers will make at least 26 percent of their purchases at Amazon, and 40 percent will use Amazon for more than half.

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Online's shopping growth is already an established trend, but IMRG says it works particularly well for sales.

Online purchases continue to steal a bigger slice of the holiday shopping pie. The Mall of America in Minnesota says that 2,500 people were in line at the 5 a.m. opening Friday, in line with a year ago. Still, plenty of bargain hunters lined up - swarming into Best Buy stores. Earlier on Friday, Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette told The Associated Press said he was pleased with the kickoff to the season.

Yet the popularity of "click and collect" means people are still eventually making it to the shops even if they did buy what they wanted online.

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"I don't find anything good anymore at Sears", said Charles, a nurse with four children.

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