Black Friday Doesn’t Predict Holiday Economy Well

The figures you’ll see about Black Friday sales will probably be far off, and not that helpful about predicting holiday spending.

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Do good sales on the annual shopocalypse suggest better things to come for retailers? Not really, says NBC

Retailers invest a lot of hope in that day, because it can be used to build momentum for the six-week holiday shopping season, their most profitable time of year.

But Black Friday isn’t the economic bellwether that it used to be. The thrifty financial landscape, and the growth of online shopping, have arguably diminished the event’s impact, even as it grows in popularity, with more stores opening on Thanksgiving or offering sales weeks earlier.

People are still very cautious spenders post-recession, the article says, especially those worried about tax increases next year. On top of that, all those optimistic stats you’ll see after the holiday weekend? Not accurate.

Last year, the National Retail Foundation claimed sales had spiked by 16 percent, which would have been astounding. “But economists generally agree that consumer spending increased by less than 6 percent over the entire 2011 holiday season,” NBC says.

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