Black Friday sales in the Northeast took a tumble this year, with shoppers spending nearly 5% less than in 2008, according to retail analysts ShopperTrak.As I had suspected, people were spending more online than last year as mall traffic wasn't what it had been last year.
Nationwide, the picture was slightly more encouraging, with bargain-hunters spending $10.7 billion at the checkout counter on the day after Thanksgiving - a marginal 0.5% increase from last year.
"Traffic seemed to follow a familiar pattern this year as retailers were blitzed early in the day by smart shoppers capitalizing on discounted merchandise. Then things began to slow as the day progressed," ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin said.
"Looking ahead, we should see some strength early on Saturday, but things will begin to taper off later in the day, which will most likely continue into Sunday."
The doorbuster sales enticed early-bird shoppers to stores across the Big Apple, and the lines were typically long outside the biggest chains with the biggest price cuts.
Many offered "limited-time only" promotions in the hope of getting people to spend like crazy once they walked through the doors.
Retailers are looking to Cyber Monday to help improve sales, but as more people have procured broadband access at home, they are able to buy at their own convenience and comparison shop like never before.
I managed to do nearly all of my holiday shopping online, but still went to the store because it's far easier and quicker to browse through racks of items than it is to scroll through a store online.
Looking ahead to Cyber Monday, be sure to have your coupons handy. Many retailers have online coupons that allow for free shipping, additional discounts, and other benefits. That includes Coupon Mountain, Coupon Mom, Coupons.com, and Entertainment.com
The weekend has been disappointing. In fact, it appears that consumers were spending 8% less over last year, and that can't entirely be traced to the Northeast either. Higher unemployment and uncertainties have led people to cut back on spending.