Well, this almost had me fooled when I read it yesterday:
Already, retail stores have reason to be merry
Retailers rang in more than $7 billion in sales nationwide on Friday, signaling a merry start to the holiday shopping season and a rise in spending of nearly 5 percent compared with the day after Thanksgiving last year, according to Chicago-based tracking firm ShopperTrak.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, set a one-day sales record of more than $1.52 billion as customers snatched up toys and electronics. That represents an increase of more than 6 percent over a year earlier. No regional sales breakdown was available.
''These numbers in and of themselves are not a bellwether for the entire holiday season,'' said Michael Niemira, a vice president at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. in New York who tracks the retail industry. ''That said, we started off better than I would have expected and that, at least, is comforting.''
Here's an update:
Early Sales Appear Modest as Holiday Season Begins
Estimates of post-Thanksgiving retail sales ranged yesterday from flat to modest, leaving many merchants hoping that things would pick up later in the season.
Scott Krugman, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation, said this year's weekend after Thanksgiving was "on a par with last year — it was no worse than last year." He said he expected "exponential improvement" in sales before Christmas, an increase that would result in the federation's forecast of 5.7 percent higher holiday sales this year.
Marshal Cohen, senior analyst for the NPD Group, a market research firm, more generously estimated the sales total for Friday and the weekend at 3 to 4 percent higher than last year's....
"Consumers are telling me they don't have money in their pockets," Mr. Cohen said. "The economy is recovering, but they don't see it yet."
...At the specialty stores in the Crystal Mall in Waterford, Conn., several store managers who did not want their names used because they did not have corporate permission to speak said that this year's Black Friday was "boring." A manager at a teen-oriented specialty shop said: "We made our numbers. But the excitement wasn't even like last year."...
Boom boom boom....