Music retailers report bleak sales on Black Friday

By | December 2, 2008 at 2:06 AM

Music merchandisers weren’t sharing the general optimism of most retailers during Thanksgiving weekend.

Music sales were down from 10 percent to 30 percent, and big-name albums released for Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving kickoff to the holiday retail season, didn’t perform up to expectations, according to merchants contacted by Billboard.

Sources said that Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak” will sell in the range of 425,000-450,000 units, significantly down from 700,000-975,000 units previously projected.

Guns N’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” is expected to clock in at 250,000-260,000, not the predicted 300,000-784,000 units.

At music specialty stores Newbury Comics, sales were down 21 percent on a comparable-store basis for the last two weeks of November, while music sales were down 28 percent, the Brighton, Mass. based chain’s CEO, Mike Dreese, reported.

At big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble, label executives reported that hit-album sales were off significantly for the Black Friday weekend, anywhere from 30 percent to 40 percent.