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Spending down Black Friday thanks to Thanksgiving creep: expert

Black Friday shopping Target store State Street thopens 9:00pm Thanksgiving Day November 22 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

Black Friday shopping at the Target store on State Street that opens at 9:00pm on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 26, 2012 9:46AM



More shoppers walked into malls and stores on Black Friday this year compared to last, but they didn’t spend as much, according a report released Saturday by ShopperTrak.

Compared to Black Friday last year, retail foot traffic rose 3.5 percent, to more than 300 million store visits.

“We think that’s an indication that the housing market is a little better, the job market is a little better – consumer confidence is up,” said Bill Martin, the founder of the Chicago-based retail-foot traffic counter. Last year foot traffic was up 4.7 percent from 2010.

Retail sales this year on Black Friday, however, were down 1.8 percent from last year, the data showed. And shoppers spent $11.2 billion this year compared to last year’s $11.4 billion, but that only counts Friday’s shoppers and with an abundance of Thanksgiving Day deals, this years combined totals are likely higher, according to ShopperTrak, which gathers data from more than 40,000 U.S. stores and shopping centers.

Big-box stores such as Walmart and Toys R Us led the Black Friday creep into Thanksgiving by opening at 8 p.m. Thursday.

And there’s little doubt, Martin said, that Thursday’s sales diminished Friday’s take.

“The likelihood is it did leach some of the sales from Friday,” he said, noting that only a few of the stores opened Thanksgiving evening last year.

“It’s very likely that sales that normally fall on to Friday, fell on to Thursday,” he said.

Add both day’s sales together and it would certainly exceed last year’s total, Martin said.

“We know that the sales for [Thursday], if combined with Friday would exceed the $11.4 billion we were anticipating.”

Martin, though, said it’s unclear what will happen as the holiday shopping season continues into December.

“We have to remember it’s a good foundation, but it’s still just a single day in a 60-day cycle,” he said of the day after Thanksgiving. “Did the consumers spend all their money and they’re going to be out of steam or will the improvements in foot traffic be momentum for the holiday season? You’ve got to wait and see. We don’t quite know what the consumers will do.”

The National Retail Federation has said up to 147 million people plan to shop this holiday weekend, a 3.3 percent decrease from 152 million who planned to do so last year. The federation is scheduled to release its results Sunday.



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