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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Retail: "Very Good Signs"

Retail executives were holding their breath on Friday, looking for indications that the recent recovery would extend into the holiday shopping season. Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren went on the record with the Wall Street Journal Saturday to assert that early indications of both traffic and sales are pointing to "very good signs" for the December shopping season.

Online market reports from Coremetrics showed the average amount online shoppers spent on Friday rose 35% from last year's Black Spending Friday. Top statistics included:

- Online Apparel retailers saw sales jump 28.6% from last year.
- Web-based jewelry sales reported nearly 25 percent surge.
- Online department stores did phenomenally well job reporting a 151.7 percent jump.

Overall consumer electronics are taking an early lead in sales volumes. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn said that shoppers are in "a buying mood" and that "our crowds were materially bigger than last year."

Toys "R" Us also pointed to big crowds favoring electronics. CEO Jerry Storch said that not only are electronics a big hit but with respect to early sales results: "So far we're pleased. Friday morning we averaged over 1,000 people per store waiting in line, and we've been doing brisk business ever since."

In general Friday's results appear to be positive for holiday retailers. Given the big online surge on Friday that continued into Saturday, Cyber Monday is likely to follow suit. University of San Diego economics professor Alan Gin remarked over the weekend, "I think things will be surprisingly on the up side."

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