New York City -- Retail sales broke records during the Thanksgiving weekend, climbing 16%, according to a survey by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation. Shoppers spent $52.4 billion, up from $45 billion last year.
A record 225 million shoppers visited stores and malls over the Black Friday weekend, up from 212 million last year. Shoppers on average spent $398.62, up from $365.34 last year, the NRF said.
Apparel and electronic sales were particularly strong, according to the NRF, as shoppers flocked to stores for early doorbuster deals.
“It’s a good, encouraging sign the consumer is out there despite all the distractions,” said Marshal Cohen, an analyst at NPD Group, in a Bloomberg report. “We’ll have an OK holiday.
However, Cohen and some analysts warned that the strong Thanksgiving holiday may simply have pulled sales forward from December.
Many retailers opened earlier than ever this year, with Macy’s, Target and Best Buy among the retailers opening at midnight. Given the strong sales and crowds the stores attracted, industry experts predicted the midnight start on Black Friday will become increasingly commonplace. The midnight opening was especially popular with teenagers and young adults.
“Now that we're open at midnight, we're getting an entirely different customer," Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren told Reuters, speaking of night owl shoppers under age 30.