May 24, 2018
Hordes of shoppers swarm stores on Black Friday
Waves of shoppers descended on stores across the country in the ritual known as Black Friday after many major retailers moved their openings into Thanksgiving night.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reported its best ever Black Friday events after opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. During the high traffic period from 8 p.m. through midnight, Wal-Mart processed nearly 10 million register transactions and almost 5,000 items per second.

"The early read is Wal-Mart’s been one of the clear winners," said R. J. Hottovy, a senior retail analyst at Morningstar. The combination of expanded hours, aggressive pricing and guaranteed availability of some doorbuster deals are likely to pay off for the nation’s largest retailer."

The retailer was the target of a broader campaign against the company's treatment of workers that is being waged by a union-backed group called OUR Walmart, which includes former and current workers. On Friday morning, about 250 protesters were marching outside a Walmart store in Woodlawn, Md.

For their part, retailers say they are giving shoppers what they want.

Dave Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said that the discounter learned from shoppers that they want to start shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner. Then, they want to have time to go to bed before they wake up to head back out to the stores.

Still, Tovar said that Wal-Mart works to accommodate its workers' requests for different working hours. "We spent a lot of time talking to them, trying to figure out when would be the best time for our events," he said.


The early read from retail analysts is that Friday morning traffic was steady, but less hectic than previous years. “Black Friday... kind of migrated to where much of the action was last night,” said Budd Bugatch, an analyst with Raymond James & Associates. “Associates said it was wall-to-wall people last night.”

“The early bird does get the worm here. Target is more aggressive than they were a year ago,” said Patrick McKeever, senior equity analyst at MKM Partners LLC. “Kohl’s looked good at midnight... it was just bumper-to-bumper people.”

National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay told CNBC that more than 147 million people were expected to go shopping this weekend. Source: CNBC)
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