Black Friday's Dark Sales Results

More may be buying online, but stores report sluggish sales.

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Throngs of outdoor-minded shoppers mobbed Green Top Sporting Goods in Ashland on Friday. Racks of camouflage hunting outfits flew off shelves while shoppers lined up near stacks of ammunition to peruse handguns in a glassed-in display.

But stores in the Richmond area report less-than-spectacular sales for Black Friday.

Initial surveys show that 41.6 percent of retailers saw increases in sales during the post-Thanksgiving rush, according to Diana Kent, marketing director for the Retail Merchants Association of Richmond.

Some 37 percent of respondents saw a downturn in sales, she says, while 20.8 percent saw flat sales.

The trend in Richmond vaguely follows what happened in the rest of the country. Nationally, Black Friday sales fell 10 percent to $10.4 billion, down from $11.6 billion in 2014, according to the research firm ShopperTrak.

ShopperTrak says the reason is that more shoppers are using online outlets for gift-buying. Online sales jumped 14.3 percent Friday compared with Black Friday 2014.

Kent doesn’t think online sales were much of a factor in the weak performance of Richmond retail sales on Black Friday. “It was less promoted,” she says.

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