The National Retail Federation said total estimated spending over Thanksgiving weekend was $57.4 billion, down 2.7 percent.
More people were in the stores, especially on Thanksgiving Day. Traffic was up 27 percent on Thursday. But those gains came at the expense of Black Friday. Depending on who’s doing the measuring, Friday traffic was either down compared with last year or up just a little.
It’s clear what’s happening.
The holiday promotions started earlier than ever this year. That pulled sales forward. Discounting was deeper. That depressed prices and margins.
And the growth of online alternatives means that shoppers, knowing they can get deals and guaranteed delivery even at the last minute, are less inclined to feel pressure to hit the stores over Thanksgiving weekend.
Really: are you any more inclined to shop online today because retailers, and we in the media, have declared it Cyber Monday. I don’t think so.