Boycott Watch  
November 27, 2009
Black Friday 2009 in Cleveland - Mixed Results
Summary: Will retailers in be happy? This Midwestern shopping pattern may be indicative of the nation
    In our Consumer Talking Points over the past few weeks, Boycott Watch stated the following:

1) Steel sales up and down, meaning manufacturing is poised for a jump.
2) Donut and coffee shop tips up, indicating renewed consumer confidence.
3) Boycott Watch prediction: H1N1 virus will cut into Christmas sales.

    Today, on Black Friday, November 27, 2009, we see mixed signals again. While we have seen vacant storefronts next to new construction for months, today in Cleveland there were long lines at Starbucks in the morning but little traffic on the road, far less than expected while seeing traffic typical of Sunday morning.

   Meanwhile, we received reports mixed restaurant tips earlier this week, but strong tipping last night. Tips are good indicators of consumer moods. This morning restaurants were busy for breakfast, with business tapering off before mid-day. Coffee shop traffic was low in the later afternoon which is typical.

   In malls, parking lots were full as people were bargain shopping. Boycott Watch believes what we are seeing are people shopping early for specific bargains and consumers not wanting to go from store to store. This indicates strong bargains at malls with incentives for consumers to stay put. One local mall ordered three hundred dozen donuts for their shoppers; the same amount they order every year indicating the mall expects to have the same number of shoppers this year as in previous years.

   The mixed signals may indicate strong Internet sales to be reported. Cleveland is a typical Midwestern city and sales here indicate what you will see nationwide.

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