Black Friday Merchants Look to Extend Moment of Retail Optimism

As Black Friday shoppers descend on stores this weekend, retailers are experiencing something that’s been in short supply: optimism.

Brick-and-mortar chains are coming off a generally positive earnings season, with companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. seeing their shares reach record highs. Even the beleaguered department-store industry is finding reasons for hope. Macy’s Inc. and its peers rallied earlier this month after giving an upbeat outlook.