Black Friday: Retailers Say The Block is Hot

Black Friday may have seen its strongest sales ever for retailers (NYSEARCA:XRT) according to preliminary reports.

ShopperTrak is estimating that Black Friday’s retail sales increased 6.6 percent to $11.4 billion based on mall and store foot traffic. This compares to 2010’s 0.3 percent rise to $10.7 billion, which had represented a one-day sales record.

Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrac said of this year’s estimates,

“This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3 percent increase we saw between 2007 and 2006. Still, it’s just one day. It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season.”

In addition to Black Friday’s strong numbers, sales had been positive throughout November as retailers introduced early holiday deals. ShopperTrak noted that retail sales increased 3.6 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, two weeks prior to Black Friday.

Online Sales Jump 24 percent

Black Friday also brought increased online sales. According to IBM’s (NYSE:IBM) Coremetrics, online sales rose 39.3 percent on Thanksgiving Day and 24.3 percent on Black Friday as compared to numbers from the previous year.

John Squire, chief strategy officer at IBM’s Smarter Commerce division said of this year’s numbers,

“This year marked Thanksgiving’s emergence as the first big spending day of the 2011 holiday season with a record number of consumers shifting their focus from turkey to tablets and the search for the best deals.”

Along with increased sales numbers, consumers also spent three percent more this year than last but it was on themselves. The research group NPD Group noted that 44 percent was for self purchases, increasing from last year’s 33 percent.