Equities

Reuters excels with Black Friday holiday shopping coverage

Reuters excels with Black Friday holiday shopping coverage

Reuters put together an unparalleled package of stories that were consistently ahead of rivals and provided investors with a compass to navigate the conflicting data that emerged from Black Friday and the following two days — the single biggest U.S. retail sales weekend. Analysis pieces leading up to the weekend explored the new credit risks posed by retailers’ promotions, the tentative relationships between stores and vendors in a financial crisis and the likelihood of higher theft rates as more Americans lose their jobs. Reuters stories ahead of Black Friday also spelled out just how far U.S. stores were willing to discount merchandise to keep shoppers coming through their doors, at the expense of their own profit margins. While competitors from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal fell prey to the rosy numbers, Reuters made it clear that no retail expert believed the shopping season had been saved and several were adjusting forecasts to predict the first-ever decline in annual sales. The message to investors was clear, and retail stocks fell the following day, even before new economic data sent the entire market into a tailspin. Reuters followed with a critical look at data from the National Retail Foundation, showing how its survey results were not borne out by other research firms. Just three days later, retailers reported their worst same-store sales results for November in 39 years. Earlier in the month, Reuters sparred with the NRF when it tried to dispute analysis about how holiday gift cards were likely to wane this season. The next week, the NRF reversed course and released a statement predicting a 6 percent decline in holiday gift cards.