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Holiday Retail Sales Up, But at What Cost to Black Friday?

Dec 9, 2013

People enter Macy's Herald Square store after opening its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in New York City.
Credit Kena Betancur / Getty Images

The Florida Retail Federation originally predicted Black Friday 2013 would net three and a half to four and half percent more sales than 2012 and officials say they’re meeting that goal – handily.

Labor groups chided big retailers who pushed the sales weekend earlier to include Thanksgiving night in an attempt to maximize profits.

And although overall numbers are up, Florida Retail Federation Spokesman John Fleming says whatever retailers might have gained by being open Thursday, they might have lost Friday.

“It may have helped sales overall through the weekend. Although, some of the retailers we’ve heard from say that it shifted a little bit of the traffic from Friday to Thursday. So, they might’ve seen lower numbers than they expected on Friday,” Fleming said.

Still, he adds says if consumers continue to shop on Thanksgiving Day, retailers will stay open.

“Retail is a very competitive industry; it’s also a completely consumer-driven industry," Fleming said. "So, if retailers see that shoppers are not responding to something – they’ll quit doing it. If they see something is very popular with shoppers, they’ll keep doing it and they’ll do more of it.”

He also says most shoppers skipped the traditional brick and mortar stores in favor of purchasing online - Florida’s retail numbers closely mirror national statistics which show online buying up 20 percent from last year.