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Speculating on Apple's Black Friday sales

With US consumers hesitant to buy big-ticket items and Apple's modest Black Friday discounts, it will be interesting to see retail reports from last weekend. The Wall Street analysts are starting to weigh in with their predictions.

Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray expects to see a year-to-year decrease from retail stores, though strong online sales should compensate for that discrepancy. He also notes that it's "...too early" to make predictions about the December quarter.

Meanwhile, Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. believes that 3rd-party retailers had a significant role in what will be seen as "strong" weekend sales for Apple. Amazon, Best Buy (a big box store in the US), and others were aggressive with discounts, many of which have extended to Monday, November 30th. Some retailers bundled free gift cards with purchases to entice buyers. Many retailers, like Amazon, were reporting low inventory or out-of-stock on Monday morning.

The Natick Apple Store, which I visited on Friday, was packed. In fact, shoppers had to wait outside for a signal to enter, and even then were only admitted in pairs.

Kaufman Bros. has maintained its price target of $235 for AAPL stock and reiterated its "buy" rating.

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