Robust holiday sales season kicks off over Thanksgiving

Holiday shoppers set records over Thanksgiving weekend

Holiday shoppers set records over Thanksgiving weekend

In an interview with the Boston Globe last week, retail analyst Marshal Cohen described the state of pre- and post-Thanksgiving sales events like this: "It's no longer Black Friday". Multichannel shoppers spent about $49 more than those shopping only in-store, and $82 more than those shopping online. In the past, the NRF's report was focused on Black Friday, and more recently Thanksgiving Day spending. In the run-up to the holiday weekend, established retailers invested gradually in upgrading their websites and bulking up delivery alternatives, preempting a decline in visits to brick-and-mortar stores. Overall, shoppers spent an average $335.47.

"All the fundamentals were in place for consumers to take advantage of incredible deals and promotions retailers had to offer", NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release. So, while many shoppers are still buying in-store, many are researching on their phones.

The only big recent shopping day where online sales may have exceeded store sales was Cyber Monday, Storch said. Online-only shoppers spent significantly less than consumers shopping in-store or across multiple channels. The volume, a single-day record, was 9 per cent over the previous high, set on Black Friday past year, according to USA Today, which first reported the gun sales.

Retail stocks soared on Wednesday as the wave of good news keeps coming after Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

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Neil Stern, a senior partner at Chicago-based McMillan-Doolittle, experienced it firsthand as national retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Amazon.com and Target Corp. competed for sales by offering discounts and promotions. The number of shoppers out on Thanksgiving was down by a greater amount due to more retailers opting to stay closed on the holiday, according to ShopperTrak. 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 a year ago. Shopping is increasingly flowing online, with mobile devices becoming the preferred means of commerce. Based on Adobe Analytics data, a record $6.59 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday, an increase of 16.8% year over year, making it the largest online shopping day in history and almost a billion dollars more than last year at $5.6 billion.

RetailMeNot, Inc. estimates that approximately $4.4 billion in retailer sales were attributable to consumer transactions from paid digital offers in its marketplace in 2016, more than $600 million of which were attributable to its in-store solution.

Given the headwinds in the industry right now - heavy debt loads, dying malls, rapidly shifting consumer tastes - many struggling companies may fall even further behind during the holiday season.

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