Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shoppers Showed Up, but Spent on Bargains

By Lingxiao Li

More consumers flooded the nation’s stores on Thanksgiving weekend in search of bargains. Statistics have shown that some 195 million consumers visited stores and Web sites over the weekend, up from 172 million last year, according to the National Retail Federation, the trade group that reported sales results on Sunday afternoon. Average spending over the weekend, however, fell to $343.31 a person, from $372.57 a year ago. Total spending was $41.2 billion — about the same as last year.While retailers are encouraged by the number of Americans who shopped over Black Friday weekend, they know they have their work cut out for them to keep people coming back through Christmas,” Tracy Mullin, president and chief executive of the federation, said in a statement. “Shoppers can continue to expect retailers to focus on low prices and bargains through the end of December.The good news for retailers was that consumers opened their wallets for some discretionary items, albeit cheap ones. Shoppers not only bought gifts, but also took advantage of low prices to replace old household sundries, like irons, toasters and sheets. The NPD Group found that pent-up demand led some 63.8 percent of consumers to shop for themselves over the weekend.
Although the Friday after Thanksgiving is typically a busy day, a big turnout does not necessarily translate into significant profits or indicate how consumers will shop for the rest of the year. Last year, retailers posted the worst sales figures in decades. This year, sales are expected to be about the same as last Christmas.


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