If it seemed like U.S. stores weren't quite so crowded on Black Friday, that wasn't your imagination. RetailNext's monthly count of store traffic and sales found that November store traffic was down 11.4 percent, Drug Store News reported.
U.S. store sales were also down 11 percent year-over-year for November, though performance varied significantly by retailer type and region, RetailNext said in the report, which covered the month through Nov. 29.
Before the Black Friday weekend began, RetailNext predicted Black Friday would be the busiest shopping day of 2014 and that sales for the weekend would be up between 2 and 3 percent, even though November started off slowly.
Instead, the sales drop was "more pronounced over the Thanksgiving weekend," said Chitra Balasubramanian, RetailNext's head of business analytics. "Many retailers and analysts have suggested the double-digit decreases in store traffic and sales over Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend were due to 'holiday creep' and the start of holiday promotions earlier in the month." But the data indicates a more complex retail environment, and ecommerce "undeniably made a considerable impact on results," Balasubramanian said.
RetailNext VP retail consulting Shelley Kohan suggested that overall shopping trends have led shoppers to the web, so when they get to the store they spend less time there but spend more. However, she didn't explain the 11 percent sales drop.