This year, day-after-Christmas sales are expected to be even more festive than usual. Fortuitous timing and Americans' renewed willingness to spend should cap the improved retail season.
Surveys show that more consumers want to get a jump on Black Friday and shop on Thanksgiving Day. With retailers desperate to boost sales, an increasing number are staying open.
From $3.50 black-and-orange cupcakes to $45 Spartacus costumes, retailers make a bundle on Halloween – $2 billion on candy alone. For the economy, it's a bit of good news in scary times.
Retail sales for the week ending March 6 rose a robust 2.9 percent from a week earlier. Freed from snow and shovels, and ready for spring, shoppers bust loose.
Effects from a snow storm like the one that blanketed the mid-Atlantic this week can add up to billions of dollars, once lost productivity and sales and emergency road clearing are factored in. But the cost to the overall US economy is likely to be short term.
Retailers took a hit on Christmas shopping sales because of the snowstorm, though online sales surged. The storm also took a financial toll on towns that had to dig into their snowplowing budget early.
Retailers hoping for Black Friday crowds like wintery weather, which reminds people of the holidays. Meteorologists predict that's what they'll get on that big shopping day after Thanksgiving.
Consumers are still hesitant to spend. For the year, retail sales are expected to decline about 3 percent, says the National Retail Federation.
Sales were better than expected this past Black Friday, but will it last till Christmas?
Relief that the election is over could put some consumers in more of a spending mood.