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Barry Ritholtz

Black Friday's Guesswork Gloom

There's lots of gloom about the latest Thanksgiving holiday weekend retail sales, though the truth is that the surveys don't give an accurate picture of how retailers performed.
Get serious.

Get serious.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The New York Times headline declared, “Thanksgiving Weekend Sales, at Stores and Online, Slide 11 Percent.” Not to be outdone, the Wall Street Journal reported, “‘Black Friday’ Fades as Weekend Retail Sales Sink.” And -- to prove I'm not playing favorites -- Bloomberg News noted that, "Black Friday Fizzles With Consumers as Sales Tumble 11%."

Please repeat the following, once again with gusto: We don't know what Black Friday sales were, not yet. And we certainly don't know what the impact of the actual number will be on final holiday retail data.