Holiday weekend yields $22.8 billion in sales

With the holiday weekend behind us, the National Retail Federation added up the nation's receipts and reported that retailers had a blockbuster weekend which added up to $22.8 billion in sales, representing more than 10 percent of the $220 billion in sales projected for the full holiday season.
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With the holiday weekend behind us, the National Retail Federation added up the nation's receipts and reported that retailers had a blockbuster weekend which added up to $22.8 billion in sales, representing more than 10 percent of the $220 billion in sales projected for the full holiday season. Over the weekend, 133 million shoppers flooded stores across the country, spending on average $265.15 per shopper, according to a NRF survey conducted by BIGresearch.

Although "Black Friday" -- the day after Thanksgiving so dubbed because it's traditionally when most big retailers turn a profit for the year and go "into the black" -- was a success for many retailers, stores recognize that the bulk of holiday shopping is yet to come.

"Retailers know that the holiday season is not a sprint, it's a marathon," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "Black Friday weekend is just the beginning of a month-long race to the finish line."

NRF said Friday was the biggest shopping day with 64.6 percent of shoppers, but consumers were also out on Saturday (54.1 percent) and Sunday (25.3 percent). Also, 9 million people got a head start on the crowds by shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

Visa USA reported spending on its cards Friday and Saturday was $7.4 billion, a 14.3 percent increase over the same days last year. MasterCard processed 35.1 million transactions, 10 percent more than on the same day in 2003.

Historically, the post-Thanksgiving weekend isn't especially strong for online spending because so many people are out in stores. The busiest shopping day on the Web, according to Verisign, is the Monday after Thanksgiving, when consumers get back to their high-speed, broadband Internet connections at the office.

But the weekend's online sales weren't too shabby as consumers spent $250 million online on Friday, a 41 percent increase over the $174 million they spent online on the same day a year ago, according to ComScore Networks, a Reston, Va., company that tracks website activity. For the November/December holiday season, online spending is expected to surpass $15 billion -- marking as much as a 26 percent increase over last year, ComScore said.

NRF said that a variety of retailers benefited from favorable weather and heavy discounting this weekend. According to its survey, the majority of shoppers headed to discounters (61.8 percent) though department stores (44.3 percent) and specialty stores (40.5 percent) also saw strong traffic.

As of Sunday, Nov. 28, the average person has completed 36.8 percent of his or her holiday shopping. Only one in 12 consumers (8.3 percent) is finished with holiday shopping.

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