Black Friday's Verdict: Stores See Decent Sales, but Caution Reigns

Still stressed, butnot panicked. That’s the retail state of mind following the Black Fridayweekend, which saw unexceptional yet decent enough traffic and sales ascompared with last year’s disaster. Retailers citedpent-up demand, “frugal fatigue,” lots of self-purchasing as opposed to buyinggifts, widespread doorbusters often starting at 5 a.m., and targeted pricepromotions.  Doorbusters in particularwere at a record level — Sears alone had 599 while Macy’s offered 250 and Kohl’shad more than 300. Other bright spots: novelty cashmeres, boots, digital readers,flat-screen TVs well under $1,000, fashion items with sparkle, boxed gift setsand discounted kitchenware. Retailers also said tweeting was a significantfactor, getting consumers directed on where to go for the best deals. And with myriad onlinepromotions from to InStyle’s Web site, Cyber Monday provided a bit ofdigital encouragement to retail shares Monday as investors digested news of theotherwise lackluster shopping weekend, including dismal comp-store sales for the month of November.
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