Thanksgiving weekend sales rose 1% in U.S., ShopperTrak says

Spending on the four days starting with the Thanksgiving holiday rose 1 percent from a year earlier to $22.2 billion, with fewer people hitting stores while spending more, according to researcher ShopperTrak.

Retail traffic during the period fell 4 percent from last year to 1.8 billion store visits, the Chicago-based firm said in an e-mailed statement today. ShopperTrak has forecast purchases will gain 2.4 percent in November and December, the smallest increase since 2009.

ShopperTrak’s data follows other reports indicating lackluster holiday sales that increase the chances retailers will extend deep, profit-eating discounts. The National Retail Federation said Dec. 1 that sales at stores and on the Internet fell 2.9 percent over the holiday weekend, the first decline since 2009, citing results of a survey it commissioned.

“Retailers stretched Black Friday deals and promotions across November -- removing the focus from just one big day of shopping,” Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’s founder, said in the statement. “Shoppers, in turn, paced themselves. Customers also researched store merchandise online first and more often came to stores ready to buy particular products.”

Total in-store traffic increased 9.4 percent in apparel while slipping 6.5 percent at electronics stores, ShopperTrak said.

Thanksgiving day accounted for 10 percent of shopper traffic over the weekend, ShopperTrak said.

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