Brazil retail sales rise in November as Black Friday takes root

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Retail sales in Brazil rose in November as consumers pounced on early holiday promotions, reinforcing the rising popularity of the Black Friday shopping trend started in the United States as well as expectations of a softer December.

Sales volumes climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent in November from October, government statistics agency IBGE said on Wednesday. That was above all estimates in a Reuters poll whose median forecast showed 0.2 percent growth.

The Black Friday shopping rush is relatively new to Brazil, which does not celebrate the United States’ preceding Thanksgiving holiday. Few economists cited the phenomenon in their forecasts.

Retail associations in Brazil reported a rise in late November shopping, especially online, but meager sales in the final week before Christmas.

Even with the Black Friday boost, November sales volumes rose just 1.0 percent from a year earlier, the weakest year-on-year advance for the month since 2003.

Consumer confidence is hovering at levels last seen in the 2008 financial crisis, as the fourth straight year of high inflation and mediocre growth in Latin America’s largest economy take a toll on the labor market.

Stronger sales of furniture and home electronics seemed to reflect earlier Christmas shopping, although there are signs that the broader holiday season was disappointing for retailers, said IBGE analyst Nilo Lopes.

Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Writing and additional reporting by Brad Haynes in Sao Paulo; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn