U.S. newspapers ran stories trumpeting shopping frenzies the day after Thanksgiving, including a Wal-Mart melee that left one shopper flat on the floor clutching a DVD player as other shoppers trampled her in a mad rush to buy bargain gifts. Despite the reported brouhaha, Black Friday's sales figures did not meet plan for many retailers, according to Lazard equity research analyst Todd Slater. But solid sales throughout the rest of November should bolster overall comparable store sales 4.6 percent for the month, compared to 2.7 percent in October, he adds in his November sales forecast report. Slater expects value retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target saw the highest comp gains (5.7 percent) and non-luxury department stores such as Macy's and JCPenney seeing the weakest gains (1.7 percent, compared to a 6.4 percent drop last year).
However, the weak weekend is not an indicator for a slow holiday season, he points out. Thanksgiving sales represent only 10 percent of holiday sales compared to the final week before Christmas, when 40 percent traditionally occur. Slater says this year, consumers are in better shape and retailers have constrained inventory levels and lowered promotional cadence.