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Retailers post $52B Black Friday boon

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Retailers have plenty to be thankful for coming out of the Black Friday weekend sales.

According to a news release from the National Retail Federation, 226 million shoppers spent a record $52 billion on purchases Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, for an average tab of $398 per consumer. Last year, there were 212 million shoppers, who spent an average of $365.

Citing survey data by BigResearch, NRF said online purchases accounted for nearly 38 percent of the weekend spending with shoppers buying an average of $150 of goods on the Web.

“Stuffed to the brim from their holiday meals and eager to shop, more consumers than ever turned out for retailers’ Black Friday promotions, a promising sign for the economic recovery,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the release. “After an historic holiday weekend, retailers know the holiday season is far from over and will continue to look for ways to excite holiday shoppers and build on the momentum we’ve seen thus far.”

Spending on Cyber Monday, a separate shopping event for online purchases, hit $1.25 billion, a 22 percent increase compared to a year ago, according to ComScore Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR).

“It was just the second billion-dollar spending day on record, following on the heels of Cyber Monday 2010,” ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a separate news release. “While last year saw Cyber Monday rank as the heaviest online spending day of the year for the first time ever, it will be interesting to watch the next couple of weeks to see if any future individual days in 2011 manage to leapfrog this year’s highest day to date.”

Roughly 10 million people made e-commerce purchases Monday, up 11 percent from last year, and shopping at work on Cyber Monday accounted for more than 50 percent of sales, ComScore said.

E-commerce transactions Nov. 1-28, considered the start of the holiday shopping season, have topped $15 billion, a 15 percent increase compared to the same time last year.

NRF also said consumers responded to stores opening earlier, a growing retail trend. Nearly 25 percent of Black Friday shoppers were at stores by midnight Thanksgiving Day, up from 9.5 percent in 2010 and 3.3 percent in 2009, according to BigResearch’s survey of 3,826 consumers on behalf of NRF.

“Consumers are clearly demonstrating their desire to spend this holiday season, and shopping early and often seem to be their new mantra as they seek the best value for all their holiday purchases,” said BigResearch Executive Vice President Phil Rist.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percent.

According to NRF, more than 3.6 million U.S. retailers contribute $2.5 trillion to the annual gross domestic product and support one in four U.S. jobs, or 42 million working Americans.[[In-content Ad]]

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