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One more hurdle for retailers

Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday
Curt A. Hodapp

Monday, November 30, 2009 - The day after Thanksgiving, retail sales started early Friday morning with start of Black Friday. Retailers from around the country welcomed shoppers with specials. This long shopping weekend will end as shoppers go online to shop Cyber Monday. These four days of retail sales has become the official start of the holiday shopping season.

Retailers are still assessing the results from Black Friday and the retailer barely overtook last year’s totals. According to Shoppertrak, an independent company that tracks retail shopping; Shoppertrak estimates that Black Friday did $10.660 billion on retail sales.

Not as well as retail analysts expected or retailer had hoped. Black Friday started off strong with lines around stores or spread out into the parking lots. However, as mid-day approached the momentum slowed and weekend shopping just a little more brisk than the weeks proceeding Thanksgiving.

One more hurdle needs to clear that will end the official start to the holiday season is Cyber Monday. The National Retail Federation estimates 96.5 million shoppers are ready to shop online from the comfort of their homes or work. That is up 11.5 million from last year.

It all begins early in the morning on Monday and will last all day long. Consumers will be able to shop their favorite stores on-lines. To meet this demand, nine out of ten retail stores will be offering specials, and some of the deals include items not available in stores. Consumers can expect these limited sales to begin at the top of the hour to keep customers coming back.

Most analysts are wondering if retailers will be able to clear this hurdle and save the shopping season. Another critical online shopping day will be Sunday, December 20, 2009. The last day before a customer can use standard shipping before Christmas. This is normally the lowest shipping price and for some retailers it is free. If consumers wait after that day and want the item to show up before Christmas, they would have to choose another shipping option and pay more to arrive before Christmas.