Shoppers Reportedly Spent 13% More During Black Friday

4798American shoppers spent 13 percent more during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, heading to stores and jumping online to push Black Friday beyond a one-day extravaganza.

More than 35 million shoppers bought in stores and online on the Thanksgiving holiday, up from 29 million last year, to get a few hours' jump on the traditional Black Friday.
Spending rose to $59.1 billion from Nov. 22 through today from $52.4 billion last year, the National Retail Federation said in a statement. The jump occurred even as Chicago-based researcher ShopperTrak observed a 1.8 percent decline in sales on Black Friday, the traditional start to the shopping season.

Retailers have turned Black Friday into a week's worth of deals and discounts, with ever-earlier openings and online offers. Thanksgiving Day, once reserved for family gatherings, saw more than 35 million shoppers buying in stores and online, up from 29 million last year, the NRF said. Even tomorrow's so- called Cyber Monday is losing its distinction, with Best Buy Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. starting some web-based deals today.

"Retailers have now integrated the entire shopping experience," Matt Shay, president and chief executive officer of the NRF, said on a conference call today. "Every day is Cyber Monday. Every day is Black Friday."

Customers spent $423 on average this weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, the Washington-based NRF said. The 13 percent jump in total spending suggests some sales may have been pulled sales ahead from December and that retailers will have to keep up the promotions to avoid a lull.

"Retailers are going to have to get creative, such as price discounts or special events, to keep the customer engaged," Patricia Edwards, chief investment officer for Bellevue, Washington-based Trutina Financial, said today by telephone. Her firm owns Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Starbucks Corp. among more than $300 million in assets.

Source: Bloomberg | Cotten Timberlake
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