Black Friday sales turned out better than expected, thanks to deep discounts and pent up demand that drove traffic.
ShopperTrak RCT, a tracking and measurement service used by malls and retailers, says retail sales increased 3 percent over 2007 - and Black Friday 2007 was up 8 percent vs. 2006.
Regionally, the South had the strongest sales with a 3.4 percent rise over 2007, the Midwest rose 3 percent, the West was up 2.7 percent and in the Northeast, sales increased 2.6 percent.
A different survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation showed more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 147 million shoppers last year.
Shoppers spent an average of $372.57 this weekend, up 7.2 percent over last year's $347.55, according the survey, conducted by BIGresearch.
I did some reporting at South Coast Plaza and Metro Pointe in Costa Mesa Friday morning at industry stores and stores that carry action sports goods, as well as other retailers, to get an idea of the promotional levels.
PacSun: The entire store was 30 percent off until 1 p.m. That discount was on top of already reduced goods, such as a wide-range of fleece for $39.99. Previously, I had seen only a few styles of fleece offered for that price, but that extended to a wide range this weekend. I saw a thick, Volcom fleece jacket marked down from $69 to $39. Then with the 30 percent discount, it was selling for approximately $27. Shoppers who spent $50 also received a $25 bounce back coupon. The good news was the store was packed, with more than 20 people in line at the register.
Quiksilver: 40 percent off fleece, sweaters, jackets, accessories and some shoes.
Roxy: 40 percent off sweaters, jackets, fleece, sandals, purses, plus a whole section of tops. Throughout the day, I saw lots of shoppers with Roxy bags.
Beachworks: 20 percent off entire store, including sunglasses and watches; buy one, get one 50 percent off of clearance goods; spend $100, get a $25 coupon.
Paul Frank: 30 percent off the first hour of the day; 20 percent off the second hour; and 10 percent off the third hour.
Tilly's: Hoodies, buy one, get one 50 percent off; spend $75, get $20 off next visit; $29.99 for junior denim; two for $20 juniors thermals.
Journeys: Additional 20 percent off some styles.
Macy's: Young men's action sports fleece for $49.99.
Nordstrom: Had huge discounts. It was clear the upscale department store were trying to move goods. The store had 40 percent off designer handbags, 40 to 50 percent off a wide-range of shoes. In the Brass Plum section, nearly the whole department was on sale. Coats were 50 percent off, a wide range of sweaters were selling for $24.90 and $28. Some skinny jeans were $23.90, and stylized fleece with fake fur was $38. There were also about 10 racks of 50 percent off. I didn't see action sports brands on sale. The section was mobbed, with a long line at the register.
Saks Fifth Avenue: Unbelievable sales in contemporary designer brand section on good brands and current styles. Racks and racks of 50 percent off clothing, and the section was crowded with women in a frenzy.
Limited Too: Buy one, get one free everything in the store.
Gap: Buy one holiday sweater, get one free.
Abercrombie & Fitch: I had to go there since CEO Mike Jeffries has been so adamant about not discounting. He held true to his word. The only sale items were the regular clearance items way in the back. Troops of shoppers marched through full-price areas and headed to the back, thinking there were special sales. When I was there, two guys arrived in the back, looked around in surprise and said, "Nada." They marched back out.
Ted Baker: Additional 20 percent off all prices, and up to 50 percent of clearance items.
Barneys Co-Op: Selective sales. A Diane Von Furstenberg top, for example, was marked down from $245 to $149; a dress from $365 to $179.
LaCoste: 25 percent off the entire store.