wolfstreet.com / by Wolf Richter /
Back to the Retail Quagmire.
Since Trump’s victory, stocks have soared in magic anticipation that the economy would somehow suddenly rise from its languid state and reach escape velocity. Consumer confidence has jumped, even according to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index whose defining aspect over the years has been its daunting negativity [The Trump Effect on Americans’ Perception of the Economy].
And the National Retail Federation had gushed recently that spending would rise 3.6% this holiday selling season, compared to last year. And we may still get that, but miracles have become scarce and hard to come by these days.
Instead, what we got this weekend, the all-important Black-Friday Weekend, is more of a reflection of the economy than the hype surrounding it. And it’s not good.
So the National Retail Federation said today that on Black Friday and Saturday 2% more consumers shopped than last year – 154 million out of a total population of 324 million! This includes online and brick-and-mortar stores.
For brick-and-mortar stores, it looks dreary: the number of consumers who went to the mall dropped 3.7%, according to the NRF. According to retail analytics firm RetailNext, cited by Reuters, net sales at brick-and-mortar stores dropped 5% over Thursday and Friday, while the number of transactions plunged nearly 8%. Hence the anecdotally reported gloomy traffic at brick-and-mortar stores.