2017-12-01 —

 Black Friday results mean absolutely nothing at all. Not for the U.S. economy, and not even for the retailers themselves. Most of the stuff sold on Black Friday was going to be sold during the holiday season anyway.  What retailers have done is brought it forward into one weekend and marked down the prices, damaging margins. It is not a smart move on their part.

The interesting thing about all this Black Friday perusing is that most of it is wrong. The numbers will be revised several times before the end of December, and many erroneous conclusions will be reached based on incomplete data.

Even highly accurate numbers wouldn't tell you much. Consider the fact that in 2007, Black Friday sales were up 3.2% after an impressive gain of 6.2% the year before. Looking at that data, one would think the economy was in great shape.

Of course, we all know now that precisely the opposite was true, as toxic real estate assets were building up on bank balance sheets, and the economy was about to fall off the precipice. Like I said, Black Friday sales tell us nothing about the health or direction of the economy.

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