Retail Sales Are 'Nothing Like Last Year'

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 |  Includes: BBBY, BBY
by: Wall St. Cheat Sheet

This weekend I pumped myself up in the bathroom mirror and headed to the Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Bed Bath and Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) for some anecdotal analysis. The unanimous consensus: “This year is nothing like last year.”

Managers and store staff explained that midweek traffic and overall spending is lower than last year. In other words, people are concentrating their shopping to the weekends and purchasing less during those trips.

Further, Best Buy indicated that consumers are buying fewer items so they can get that one big ticket item (e.g., TV, computer, video game console, etc.). This statement was evidenced by the shoppers clustered around computers and televisions, while the CD, DVD, and accessory isles were less trafficked.

Obviously, my analysis was not scientific. One city does not reflect a national trend. However, the National Retail Federation reported that 195 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the Black Friday weekend, up from 172 million last year, spending $343.71 per person, down from $372.57 in 2008.

Let’s see if Santa makes it out this year …