Spurred by aggressive promotions from retailers, American consumers opened their wallets over the holiday weekend in a way they had not since before the recession, setting records in sales and traffic.
The National Retail Federation said Sunday that spending per shopper surged 9.1 percent over last year — the biggest increase since 2006 — to an average of almost $400 a customer. In all, 6.6 percent more shoppers visited stores on the Thanksgiving weekend than last year.
“American consumers have been taking a deep breath and making a decision that it’s O.K. to go shopping again,” despite the high unemployment rate and other signs of caution, said Ellen Davis, vice president at the National Retail Federation.
Numbers from ShopperTrak, a consumer research service, showed equally strong results, with in-store sales on Friday rising by 6.6 percent over last year’s Thanksgiving Friday to $11.4 billion.
Yet there were signs the gains might not last. Analysts said that traffic to stores seemed to slow through the weekend, suggesting that the big start to the holiday season might peter out over time.
RETAILERS WERE AGGRESSIVELY AND COMPETITIVELY GOING AFTER THE CONSUMER AND DID SO WITH MORE SALES AND MORE SELLING TIME.
CONSUMERS MIGHT NOT HAVE MORE TO SPEND; THEY MIGHT'VE JUST BEEN TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE EARLY SALES.
IN THE OLD DAYS, THE LAST-MINUTE SHOPPERS GOT THE SALES.
NOW, THE BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPER GETS THEM - AND THIS FRONT-LOAD THE RETAIL NUMBERS.