Halloween–The New Thanksgiving?

According to the Dallas Morning News, Wal-Mart is promising (threatening?) to offer "Black Friday" pricing beginning this Friday, Nov. 2 to coincide with the opening of their in-store Christmas shops.  [Black Friday is the media’s name for the day after Thanksgiving, so-called because it’s traditionally considered the day that retailers first turn a profit for the year.]

Wal-Mart isn’t the only retailer jumping the gun on the traditional Christmas shopping season.  I’ve noticed trees and other decorations on display in several stores for at least two weeks, maybe longer.  It’s doubtful that even the mighty Wally World can change the decades-old tradition of taking the day off work to go shopping on Thanksgiving +1, but if their prices are low enough, they’ll probably have an effect on total sales for the day.

The thing that concerns me is that the doom-and-gloom media will look at the numbers for November 23 and declare that they’re off from last year signaling a decline in consumer spending for the season.  Will they be conscientious enough to dig into WM’s results for this weekend before they make their dire predictions?  We’ll see.

Why the suspicion of the media’s reporting on matters economic?  Maybe because of the recent glut of reporting on the sorry state of the US economy.  Anyone paying attention to the news reports might consider putting his/her life savings under the mattress.    But, here are some economic results released today:

  • According to the ADP Employment Report, non-farm private employment grew by 106,000 in October.
  • The Labor Department announced that total employee compensation rose 0.8% for the third quarter.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showed the the U.S. economy expanded at a faster than expected pace in the third quarter.  GDP growth was 3.9% compared to the 3.1% rate expected by economists.  The second quarter growth rate was 3.8%.
  • On a year-to-year basis, GDP growth was 2.6% in the third quarter, compared to 1.9% in the same period last year.

Bottom line?  As we posted earlier this week (How’s YOUR Economy) the only economy that matters is YOUR economy.  We’re coming into the most important time of the year for most retailers.  This is when we all need to be on our game.  Don’t let gloomy economic predictions that may or may not come true affect the way you run your business.  Be aware of your competition, but don’t lay awake nights worrying about them.  You’ll get your share of the business by being the best YOU that you can, not by trying to be something you’re not.

Keep doing what you do best and let your competitors lay awake at night worrying about you. 

Happy Halloween!!!

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