Black Friday Signals Retailers Will Be In The Red. Or The Black. Whatever The Bad One Is.

According to an AP headline that was widely picked up across the web, holiday shopping is off to a strong start. But CNBC called it a slow start, Bloomberg said sales were the least since 2005, WSJ said the holiday shopping mood was subdued, and the FT said that Black Friday Sales Suggest Longer Stay In Red.

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. There are many origins of the term, but the one we’re partial to, especially this year, says that Black Friday starts the season of huge sales that finally bring retailers into the black … which is ‘the good one’ in accounting jargon … Like Kruger from Seinfeld (see 1:08 in video below), it seems the AP doesn’t really know or care which is the good one or the bad one. Or perhaps they just picked up the ShoperTrak press release without any further analysis.

ShopperTrak watches sales at 50,000 retailers and said these firms posted $10.3 billion on Black Friday, which is 3% higher than last year and the smallest year-over-year increase since a decline of 0.9 percent in 2005. ShopperTrak estimates 9.9% fewer shoppers this holiday season, and a Gallup Poll says that individuals will spend $616 on holiday gifts this year, down 29% from last year. Many consumers said they were almost done shopping rather than just getting started. As of right now there are 24 shopping days until Christmas, 6 of which are weekend days.