We admit it – there’s something so…enlightening…about avoiding the whole Black Friday brouhaha. And we’re the ones sitting here – nice and comfortable – watching the repercussions of a robust shopping day leave its mark on Wall Street. Eh…we’ll get our shopping done online. It’s cold outside, after all! So, as we’re waiting, tweaking our shopping list and hoping there are a few pennies left in our banks and credit card lines, we thought we’d take a look and see just how well retailers are doing on the 2012 Black Friday event.
Not surprising, Wal-Mart began its kickoff of 2012 holiday season with big hopes and so far, no disappointments. Even we were stunned when the massive retail giant announced moments ago that it was selling a mind-boggling 5,000 items per second. Imagine the debit and credit card swipes! Turns out, all of the strikers hoping to put a dent in its profits aren’t boding well with shoppers.
The U.S. CEO of Wal Mart released a presser moments ago, as well.
We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year.
Clearly the company is pleased with the failures of the protestors.
Fortunately, protesters remained respectful to the shoppers and for those shoppers in Memphis who might have been concerned about having to get around the protesters, they needn’t have worried. Not a single striker showed up.
Ah, but it’s not all good for Wal Mart.
It’s under a lot of heat these days from a lot of various sources, too. The strikers symbolize increasing tension with the company and its workers. Obamacare plays a significant role in all of this as more employers continue to announce they’ll be cutting back, at the expense of their workers, in order to stay in business due to the tough limitations outlined in the president’s new health care law. Not only that, but Wal Mart is also under heat from Wall Street.
Today, the company announced it was suspending several of its executives in India. There are big concerns about a scandal that’s unfolding and goes back at least four years. It’s facing an $800 million sanction.
There’s a certain irony with simultaneous press releases. In one report that also came out less than an hour ago, we learn this:
The gap between rich and poor is well illustrated by the large multi-billion dollar corporations employing thousands of low-wage workers. Many of those companies are reporting big profits and record bonuses payed to executives. But Wal Mart is on the list of the lowest wage paying companies in the nation. The report, released by the National Employment Law Project, shows “two-thirds of low-wage workers – those that are paid less than $10 an hour – are employed by large corporations…including McDonald’s and Wal-Mart Stores.
This, say some experts, could spell big problems for Wal Mart while also giving the strikers reinforcement for their claims.
So how is Wall Street reacting to the robust shopping reports?
Stocks are “rising sharply” and as the report is being published, it’ closed early and up more than 170 points. In fact, it could close the week off as one of the best of the year. It’s all about the encouraging economic news from both Germany and China and the reports coming from companies closer to home, including Wal Mart as more shoppers braved the annual post-Thanksgiving shopping rush.
Foot traffic appears heavier than we’ve seen in recent years, there are a lot of positive statements out of the companies themselves, and momentum appears to be strong,
said JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at the brokerage TD Ameritrade.
The fact that many retailers got a head start could have helped, too. Many retailers opened later on Thanksgiving versus the traditional midnight or 5 a.m. extensions. The Nasdaq is seeing impressive numbers, too as technology stocks are on the rise. Dell and Hewlett Packard are both performing especially well.
Meanwhile, as the day progressed, shoppers were doing a lot of online and traditional shopping as credit cards were being swiped by the thousands every second. Both Target and Toys R Us opened early and have been rewarded for that time compromise. As we know, November and December are crucial months for the economy and speaks volumes about consumer sentiment – not to mention their spending habits.
Wal Mart closed up $1.31, Macy’s closed 72 cents higher and Target closed higher as well.
So did you get out and do any shopping on Black Friday? Did you opt for a bit of online shopping or did you take the safe route like we did and just sit back and watch the craziness ensue? Tell us all about it – we want to hear your stories.