Black Friday finds picky US shoppers waiting for bigger bargains

Black Friday shoppers walk around Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, on Friday. (Trent Sprague/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Black Friday sales show U.S. consumers are watching their wallets and holding out for deeper discounts, which sets retailers up for a subdued holiday shopping season and potentially lackluster earnings results early next year. Consumers aren’t spending at the same pace they did during the past couple of years, when the holidays were marked by post-pandemic splurges. While estimates on brick-and-mortar Black Friday sales won’t be available for some time, Salesforce Inc. expects online U.S. sales to grow 1% in November and December versus a year earlier, which would be the slowest growth in at least five years. Sales were in line with that figure on Thanksgiving Day and appeared to pick up speed on Black Friday, the software company said. Some shoppers said they were unimpressed by the discounts on Friday — and are likely to hold out for retailers to offer better sales. At the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, New Jersey, Alyssa Fanelli said she came up empty-handed while shopping at Macy’s for wedding shoes. The brand she likes was offering 25% off. “That’s not a Black Friday deal,” Fanelli said, “just a regular sale price.”