Thanksgiving steals sales from Black Friday
BY Associated Press
Sunday, November 25, 2012
11/25/12 at 5:02 AM
Thanksgiving shopping took a noticeable bite out of Black Friday's start to the Christmas season, as the latest survey found retail sales in stores fell slightly from last year.
Saturday's report from retail technology company ShopperTrak finds consumers spent $11.2 billion at stores across the U.S. That is down 1.8 percent from last year's total.
This year's Friday results appear to have been tempered by hundreds of thousands of shoppers hitting sales Thursday evening while still full of Thanksgiving dinner. Retailers including Sears, Target and Wal-Mart got their deals rolling as early as 8 p.m. on Turkey Day.
Online shopping also may have cut into the take at brick-and-mortar stores: IBM said online sales rose 17.4 percent on Thanksgiving and 20.7 percent on Black Friday, compared with 2011.
Yet ShopperTrak said retail foot traffic increased 3.5 percent, to more than 307.67 million store visits, indicating some shoppers were browsing but not spending freely.
"Black Friday continues to be an important day in retail," said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. "This year, though, more retailers than last year began their doorbuster deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. So while foot traffic did increase on Friday, those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that's usually meant for Friday."
While consumer confidence has been improving, many people are still worried about the slow economic recovery, high unemployment and whether a gridlocked Congress can avert tax increases and government spending cuts - the so-called "fiscal cliff" - set to occur automatically in January.
And some would-be shoppers said they weren't impressed with the discounts, or that there wasn't enough inventory of the big door-busters.
"As far as deals, they weren't there," said Tammy Stempel, 48, of Gladstone, Ore. "But businesses have to be successful, too. I'm hoping they extend the deals through December."
Many shoppers around the country were armed with iPads and smartphones, to check prices as well as buy.
Online auction and shopping site eBay reported more the 2.5 times the number of mobile transactions as last year.
Original Print Headline: Early openings cut Black Friday sales