Somewhat sober outlook for Black Friday spending

New York City-based O'Casey's Tavern owner Paul Hurley unveiled the nation's first 100-proof turkey, reports Associated Press. The bird is infused with fruit-flavored and 100-proof Georgi vodka for three days before being cooked, and vodka flavors include peach, raspberry, cherry and apple.  The gravy is also laced with the distilled liquor, and out of concern for the danger of drinking-and-driving, the tavern is offering free taxi ride home to anyone who orders the turkey. 

Most of us will be eating a regular turkey, so we will be more than sober on Black Friday when we head out to start our Christmas shopping.  

Thanks to spending on food, market research firm IBISWorld predicts a small gain in Black Friday retail spending in 2009 and a very modest advance in holiday season revenues, reports BNET. IBISWorld expects total retail sales on the traditional Black Friday weekend to advance by just under three percent from last year to $42.9 billion, with 77 million consumers on the lookout for bargains. The firm forecasts that consumer spending on Thanksgiving itself will increase by three percent from 2008, reaching $29.9 billion, which is a relative improvement but still below the $30.7 billion posted in 2007. 

The firm's analysis suggests the consumers are going to focus on entertaining themselves and each other throughout the holidays, an outlook that favors stores traditional fare and alcoholic beverages. Nielsen predicated that all categories associated with at-home entertainment will have an advantage in the current season, including not only alcoholic beverages but cookware, kitchen items, and bed and bath accessories as well. Gains for the overall holiday season will be modest, the research firm asserts. Food and drink sales will gain 12 percent over the holidays reaching $27.7 billion.

Like Thanksgiving, the category has a way to go before regaining its pre-recessionary footing, however, as 2006 holiday sales came in at $28.5 billion. Still food sales turned what might otherwise have been a negative seasonal prediction into a positive, as decoration sales will advance by less than one percent to $8.3 billion, gift sales will decline almost three percent to $81.91 billion and "other" sales, including flowers, cards and postage, will slip almost five percent to $10.2 billion. 

In total, IBISWorld expects holiday sales to advance by meager - okay, almost nonexistent - degree, officially stated as 0.2 percent. 

I guess it's up to us to help improve the economy by shopping 'til we drop. 

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