Whatever worries we had about consumer spending being down in the United States, were quickly dispelled on Black Friday and the days immediately following Thanksgiving.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) report on Nov. 27, 226 million shoppers spent a record $52.4 billion in stores and websites over the weekend, up from $45 billion and 212 million shoppers last year.

On Thanksgiving day alone, 28.7 million people shopped online and at stores, up from 22.2 million in 2010. On Black Friday, that figure rose to 86.3 million shoppers — one of which was me, though it was at the reasonable time of 7:30 a.m., not midnight Thursday or in the wee hours of Friday morning, as was done by 24.4 percent of shoppers this year.

Unlike the average shopper, however, I did not spend $398.62, as reported by NRF, an increase from the 2010 average of $365.34 and $343.31 in 2009.  Slightly more than one-third of the amount, 37.8 percent, was from web sales.

While electronics and clothing were among the most popular items, furniture retailers also had available their share of bargains.

Are You Leading Your Company to Meet Increased Demand?
In this month’s issue, we look at eight industry leaders whose perseverance, dedication and commitment are helping not only their individual wood products companies to grow — but the industry as a whole to thrive in the global market.

Nominated by a panel of readers, industry experts and staff, our 2011 Woodworking Market Leaders are:

• Franco Bianchi, president & CEO of Haworth Inc.
• Mark Clemens, VP Product Development, idX Corp.
• Roger Jones, VP Global Logistics, Century Furniture
• Jeff Pray, president & CEO of PIN
• Karen Strauss, president, Masco Cabinetry Group
• Ron Wanek, chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries Inc.
• Chris Watson, COO of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp.
• Eric Wolff, president and CEO of the Stow Co.

We offer them all our congratulations and invite you to read their profiles in order to learn more about these astute executives and their strategies for success. Our special Market Leaders section begins on page 19.

Check Out Additional Strategies for Success
I can’t underscore enough the importance of learning from wood industry leaders. Available on demand at WoodworkingNetwork.com, the free webcast “WOOD 100: Success Strategies” features proven business and marketing strategies for growing sales, along with ideas on how to lean your manufacturing  operation for optimal productivity and profitability, from industry executives whose companies were featured in this year’s WOOD 100. This special broadcast includes presentations by Lary Skow, vice president of sales and marketing at Northern Contours Inc., John Wiley, president of Elipticon Wood Products Inc. and Leonard Morreale, CEO of A Perfect Closet and Cabinets.

Go to WoodworkingNetwork.com/Webcasts for ways to improve your bottom line. Get the tips you need to be a leader, and watch your business thrive.

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