Black Friday weekend set record sales this year, providing a pleasant surprise to retailers given the current economic climate.
Sales were up 16.4% to $52 billion, beating last year’s sales by nearly $5 billion, accorded to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
And even though Cyber Monday has not yet been tabulated, online shoppers provided some of the biggest gains, with online sales up by 26%, or $816 million.
What’s more, the willingness to spend was felt across the board. Malls saw shoppers spend an average $398.62 over the holiday, up 9.1% from last year. Mall of America, what some might consider the flagship of American consumerism, broke its own record with a staggering 210,000 shoppers over the weekend.
The question now is how to maintain the momentum. Predictions for overall holiday sales have been rather low. The NRF, for example, is only expecting a 2.8% gain over last year.
“Black Friday weekend was highly promotional,” said Blacks Retail Founder and Senior Consultant Steve Pruitt. “I expect sales to slow down over the next couple of weeks so the challenge for retailers is to keep customers excited and engaged with great product.”
Of course, online sales are expected to continue to outpace brick-and-mortar stores. It will be interesting to see how the Cyber Monday figures turn out, and whether e-commerce sites are able to keep up the momentum as well.
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