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Good start to Christmas shopping season


Preliminary results from the Black Friday weekend have pointed to a mostly positive start to the retail industry’s biggest selling period, MarketWatch.com reported.

The number of people who shopped in stores and online between Thursday and Sunday jumped 8.7 percent to 212 million shoppers, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said after a survey of 4,306 shoppers conducted by BIGresearch. The total amount spent during the four-day weekend reached an estimated $45 billion, with the average spending per shopper rising 6.4 percent to $365.34, according to the survey.

The number of those who began their Black Friday shopping at midnight tripled this year to 9.5 percent. The number of people who shopped on Thanksgiving has doubled over the past five years to 22.3 million, according to the survey.

Target Corp., Staples Inc. and mall owner Taubman Centers Inc. said they saw better traffic or sales trends at stores and properties surveyed Friday morning.

As a sign that shoppers are more comfortable to spend beyond the basics, the proportion of shoppers who purchased jewelry over the weekend rose to 14.3 percent this year from 11.7 percent last year, the NRF said. The BIGresearch survey also showed men outspending women this weekend.

With about half of the industry’s sales still expected to be made in the last 10 days before Christmas, retailers are counting on other events, including today’s online sales kickoff, Cyber Monday, to give shoppers another reason to open their wallets, MarketWatch.com said.

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