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Music retailers report bleak sales on Black Friday

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.