People crowd the first floor of a Macy's before the store's midnight opening that kicks off the "Black Friday" shopping weekend.
People crowd the first floor of a Macy's before the store's midnight opening that kicks off the "Black Friday" shopping weekend. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

New retail sales numbers were released today. One question is how much of all that shopping was caused by Black Friday and how much was a result of disaster-related spending created by Hurricane Sandy?

There's no doubt that some stores got a bump in sales after Hurricane Sandy -- places like Home Depot.

"I'll give you an example." says Home Depot merchandise manager Dave Moore. "Where we might send in two trucks of drywall to a store, we are sending in 5 to 10 trucks per week."

Moore says many of the 400 plus stores in the Northeast are doing more business than normal. But Sandy-related spending, says Bernard Baumohl, is a much smaller piece of the pie than Black Friday sales.

"Because Sandy affected mostly the Northeast, but we're talking about sales nationwide."

Baumohl is chief economist at The Global Economic Group. He says overall, consumers are much more cautious this year, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are not ready to spend more. "I think there's a huge amount of pent up demand in households."

Once a decision is made on the Fiscal Cliff. Baumohl says, "We could see a boomerang reaction where all that pent up demand gets unleashed."

So if you're disappointed in that Christmas gift, just wait.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow David Weinberg at @@randomtape