Black Friday online sales rise, but footfall dips

CNN Money graphic

CNN Money graphic

A retail trade group estimates that people who shopped both online and in stores from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday spent more than those who picked one or the other.

The federation said an estimated 174 million people went shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday, about 10 million more than it had forecast. Multichannel shoppers were the biggest spenders over the weekend, spending on average $49 more than those who shopped in-store only and $82 more than those who shopped online only.

On this Cyber Monday, shoppers in the USA are expected to spend billions of dollars online. The NRF, whose overall production sales data is strictly observed every year, is scheduled to release Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday sales numbers on Tuesday.

Americans spent $19.62 billion (U.S.) shopping online over the five days, about $2.6 billion more than they spent during the same period last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which has tracked online shopping for years.

"It may not have been as bad as feared for brick-and-mortar stores", said Joel Bines, a managing director focused on retail at AlixPartners, an advisory firm.

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Nearly 22 million consumers from across the country are thought to have made a purchase on November 27th this year, taking advantage of retailer discounts and contributing to a total £7.8 billion spend carried out across the entire four day spree which began last Friday.

And that's OK, said Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc started Cyber Monday deals at midnight on Monday and said it will bring back discounts from Black Friday that were popular with shoppers. "At the end of the day, a sale is a sale is a sale, whether it happens in-store or online", he said. Roughly 64 million shopped both in stores and online.

"This year, consumers 65 and older proved that online shopping isn't just for Generation Z and Millennials", Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said.

In many ways, retailers are primed for a blowout holiday season.

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Sears Holdings Corp. saw same-store sales fall 17 percent at its flagship chain last quarter and 13 percent at its Kmart brand. The Mall of America in Minnesota says that 2,500 people were in line at the 5 a.m. opening Friday, in line with a year ago.

Black Friday store traffic was more resilient than many expected, he said. For some retailers, those numbers were even higher: Shopify, an e-commerce software provider for small- and medium-sized businesses, says that mobile transactions accounted for 60 percent of all sales yesterday, up 11 percent from past year.

However footfall in physical stores fell 3.6 per cent, according to retail analysis firm Springboard.

Top shopping destinations included department stores (43%), online retailers (42%), electronic stores (32%), clothing and accessories stores (31%), and discount stores (also 31%).

Promotions during the weekend were largely uninspiring, Barclays analysts said in a note, adding that deeper discounts could continue into December rather than being concentrated on Cyber Monday.

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