Analysts casted doubt Monday about a widely watched shopping poll that indicated Black Friday weekend sales fell 11 percent from last year.
“I don’t believe any way whatsoever sales were down 11 percent over the weekend,” Gerald Storch, CEO of Storch Advisors, told CNBC. “That number is a bad outlier.”
The projection came from a survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation. The survey of shoppers reported that total spending in stores and online for the weekend through Sunday fell to $50.9 billion from $57.4 billion last year. It also indicated the average person spent $159.55 online, down 10 percent from last year.
Storch, former CEO of Toys R Us, told “Squawk Box” the reading was unreliable because it relies on consumer polling and self-reporting that gauges what people spent halfway through the weekend and what they expected to spend the rest of it.
Storch said the reading that online sales fell was “a ridiculous piece of data.” He believes sales were actually up slightly, with double-digit increases online and a slight single-digit decrease in stores.
On Friday, Target said Thanksgiving was its best online shopping day ever, with digital sales up 40 percent over the previous year. Wal-Mart said online shopping on Thursday was its second-highest ever, trailing only Cyber Monday in 2013.
ComScore co-founder Gian Fulgoni told “Squawk Box” he thought ShopperTrak’s projection was more accurate than the NRF survey. ShopperTrak’s survey, which is based on data from retailers rather than consumer polling, reported a 0.5 percent drop in Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales from last year.
Online sales were up 32 percent on Thanksgiving Day and 26 percent on Black Friday compared with last year, according to ComScore data. The Internet analytics company expects consumers to spend $2.5 billion online on Cyber Monday.
“Cyber Monday for the past four or five years has been the highest-grossing online day and I would expect that we’ll see the same pattern today,” Fulgoni said.
The rapid growth of online shopping is the biggest overall trend this year, Storch said. Companies that have developed strong online arms, known as omnichannel retail, will be the winners.
He pointed to Macy’s, Nordstrom, Best Buy and Wal-Mart as exemplars in developing online sales strategies. Fulgoni also said Wal-Mart and Best Buy, as well as Target, had figured out onmichannel selling.
“These companies are going to win because they have the ability to give the consumer whatever she wants and wherever she wants it,” Storch said. “Some of them are behind—some bricks and mortar retailers—and if they don’t catch up really fast, they will perish.”
The NRF did not immediately respond to CNBC requests for comment.