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Best Buy Biggest Winner On Black Friday Weekend: Analysts


Early-bird shoppers aside, who were
the big winners over Thanksgiving weekend?

According to The NPD Group,

Best Buy

was the
fourth most frequently shopped retailer behind full-line
merchants Walmart, Target and Amazon, which sell a
much wider variety of products. Best Buy also enjoyed
the highest conversion rate, with more than 58 percent
of shoppers actually making purchases, compared
with just 38 percent last year, representing the largest
gain among the four rivals.

Credit Suisse retail analyst Gary Balter concurred
with NPD’s assessment based on Black Friday store
visits in several markets across three states. “Best
Buy seemed to be the relative winner as stores were at
least as busy as last year and traffic was solid well past
the initial doorbusters,” he wrote in a research note.

Levin Consulting, which fanned out across more than
200 stores on Black Friday, agreed. “Our team was very
impressed with Best Buy’s execution, and with how they
are going directly after Walmart and Amazon in terms of
pricing,” noted CEO Adam Levin. “They have leadership
in the hottest categories [and] we were also impressed
with their multi-channel approach this weekend, making
the specials available online.”

At the same time, added Balter, Best Buy offered
“unique in-store-only offers forcing the visit.”
Indeed, Anthony Bonevento, general manager of a
33,000-square-foot Best Buy store in Holmdel, N.J.,
reported a record turnout of 1,000 early-bird shoppers
by midnight of Black Friday. Most queued up for
hours, and in one case more than a day, for a chance
to snag a 60-inch 1080p Sharp LED TV for $800,
a 55-inch 1080p Samsung LED TV for $1,000, a
42-inch 1080p Sharp LCD TV for $200, a 15.6-inch
dual-core Lenovo laptop for $180, a 24-inch 1080p
Dynex LCD TV for $80, and a Toshiba Internet-ready
Blu-ray Disc player for $40.

“It’s hands-down bigger than last year,” Bonevento
told TWICE. “In fact, it’s the biggest crowd in four



, which was open for the 20th
consecutive year on Thanksgiving Day, said customers
started arriving as early as 2 a.m. on Thursday. Store
managers reported the Ario 32-inch TV ($199), Leader
i7 tablet ($100) and a 7-inch Sylvania netbook ($80)
among their hottest sellers.

Sister chain


opened its doors at 4 a.m. on
Black Friday, but customers lined up as early as midnight
to snag more than 900 doorbuster deals including
the 60-inch Sharp LED for $1,000, a 42-inch Panasonic
LED for $600 and a Kenmore laundry pair for $470.

Even after the initial doorbuster crunch, “both Sears
and Kmart stores across the country continued to experience
a steady flow of foot traffic,” a Sears Holdings
spokesman said.

described Black Friday as “the best
ever” for its Kindle family of e-readers, while the new
Kindle Fire tablet continued as the company’s bestselling
product since its introduction nine weeks ago.

“Customers purchased four times as many Kindle
devices as they did last Black Friday – and last year
was a great year,” said Amazon Kindle VP Dave Limp.
“In addition, we’re seeing a lot of customers buying
multiple Kindles – one for themselves and others as
gifts – we expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday
and through the holiday shopping season.”


merchandising VP Nik Nayar
similarly cited Kindle Fire as “the bestselling
tablet in our stores on Black Friday.”


Abt Electronics

, Black Friday
weekend brought a 20 percent increase
in foot traffic and a 13 percent spike in
brick-and-mortar sales year over year,
while online sales surged 21 percent on
Cyber Monday and website traffic rose
a record 29 percent, president Jon Abt


similarly reported brisk business
on Cyber Monday, with some CE
deals selling out in minutes. Among
them: an Xbox 360 250GB Kinect Bundle
for $260, which sold at a pace of
75 units per minute and sold out in 20

said sales over Thanksgiving
and Black Friday grew by double digits
year over year, spurred by free shipping,
reward points and the growth of its
4,000-reseller marketplace. “Our initial
holiday results point to a strong start of
the season, as consumers responded
favorably to our expanded selection of
products and our newest initiatives,”
said president/CEO Neel Grover.

Conversely, the office-supply channel
appeared to take a backseat to the
CE selling frenzy, having cut back significantly
on electronics from last year,
observed Credit Suisse’s Balter. Levin
of Levin Consulting concurred. “The
office superstores seemed to sit out
this weekend. They ran flyers, but the
deals were so weak that traffic was incredibly

Levin added that


Sears both saw limited store traffic
due to later openings and fewer strong
deals, while


was among the
weekend warriors. “No one understands
and delivers better day-in and
day-out on low prices,” he noted.