“Black” Friday—Was it or Wasn’t it?

Well, we've made it through the so-called "black" Friday, the day when it's said that retailers finally begin to turn a profit.  Whether it was truly black or not seems to be a matter of opinion.  Nationally, sales were up Friday versus a year ago.  But according to the pundits, it's not a cause for excitement.  Some say sales weren't up enough.  Some say the only reason sales were up is because there were so many reduced prices.  I'm no math wizard, but that seems like flawed logic.  To get a sales increase, even a small one, by selling reduced-price merchandise would seem to mean that a lot more stuff was sold. 

Dealers we've heard from seem to have had mixed results.  Some up.  Some down.  Several whose sales were up are saying that they had to work harder to get those results.  That shouldn't be a surprise.  Hard work should pay off, shouldn't it?

I spent Friday afternoon in an area of small specialty shops.  No big boxes.  No chains.  Just several blocks lined with independently owned, locally owned, specialty retailers.  Most of the stores were full.  The sidewalks were crowded.  Parking places were hard to come by. There was an hour wait at most of the restaurants.  Store owners and shoppers were all smiling.  It was small-town America at it's picture-postcard best.  I can't tell you what the malls, or the box stores were like because I didn't go there.  But news reports here in St. Louis seemed to be mixed.

I suppose the bottom line is that hard work thing.  Sometimes you can sit back and the business comes to you.  Those are good times and we should all consider them a plus.  But other times, you have to work really hard.  We're in one of those times now.  It's a cycle.  Ups and downs.  Highs and lows.  It's been that way since the first merchants opened their shops, before there even was a United States. 

Sometimes the weather affects sales.  Sometimes outside events help or hurt sales.  Sometimes it's the economy.  By working smart and hard, we can be sure that we'll always rise above the rest.

It's just twenty-four days until Christmas.  This busy season will be what you make of it, no matter what the "experts" say.

What are you doing to keep sales up for the holidays?

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