US Black Friday: More shoppers but less spent per head

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Indeed, other data released this weekend offers evidence that online spending was strong on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. She said she prefers to go to a store to get a close look at merchandise, but that's it. Even into Saturday morning, shoppers continued to buy at higher-than-expected levels online, said Tamara Gaffney, director at Adobe Digital Insights. In the last six to seven years, people have been much more deliberate about the purchases they've made. MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks spending on all kinds of payments, estimated that spending over the four-day weekend will be up 3.8 percent, with online sales up by double-digit percentages and in-store sales up in the single digits.

With many online retailers offering a full week of Cyber Monday sales, the shopping extravaganza that was once about being one of the first and fastest customers in brick and mortar stores is now about the stamina of almost two weeks' worth of shopping.

The surge in online shopping has taken a toll on brick-and-mortar stores. And while areas like electronics and toys remained strong for the weekend, clothing, particularly basic sweaters, were still a tough sell. But he said overall customer traffic was up. The trade group's chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, said Sunday that he believes that prediction "holds up pretty well" right now, even as some have asked whether the surprising election results might have altered consumers' mind-set.

"Resolution is a good thing", he said.

Janice Allsop, 66, a retired secretary who worked in the trucking industry, said she'll likely spend more this year because of Donald Trump's election win.

"I just logged on and shopped Macy's online to avoid the crowd", Ms. Martin said, adding that the couple had started shopping before Friday. "I only came for a Swiffer and toothpaste, and I'm leaving with a bit more than that". "If Hillary Clinton would have gotten in, I would have been very scared, very reluctant". Hill said she will stay on the low end of her usual spending this year because she's anxious that Trump will start to cut back on Social Security.

"We knew it (holiday season) was going to be off to a slow start", Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext, said. Wal-Mart Stores kicked off its "Cyber Week" promotions on Friday, and Target Corp. has been offering 15 percent off all purchases - either in stores or online - Sunday and Monday. This year the calendar means December 17 is the big contender, says Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners.

Still, total holiday season sales are expected to jump 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation, due to a tightening job market. "We'll see how it all plays out".

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