US shoppers plunge into Black Friday

Friday, November 26, 2010

WASHINGTON - Tens of millions of US shoppers raced from their homes on Black Friday to take part in the annual US holiday frenzy of lifting the economy.

They chased after $200d discounts on 46-inch Google TVs and $100 discounts on three pairs of Rockport shoes.

Many left their homes before midnight Thursday with their stomachs still full of Thanksgiving turkey to line up at stores like Sears, which for the first time in its 124-year history opened on the traditional American harvest holiday.

Others rose in the dead of night. Seven thousand people lined up at New York’s iconic flagship Macy’s department store at Herald Square by its 4 am opening, 2,000 more shoppers than the year before.

Retailers are expecting 138 million recession-weary Americans - 31 percent of consumers - to be feeling the winds of economic recovery at their backs and get out shopping.

In 2009, Black Friday brought in $18 billion in sales, with about 26 percent of all consumers participating, according to MasterCard Spending Pulse.

Black Friday, the biggest retailing day of the year, kicked off a holiday shopping season expected to bring in $447 billion by Christmas Day Dec 25, the National Retail Federation (NRF) projected.

Consumers are forecast to spend an average of $688.87 by Christmas, a slight increase over last year’s $681.83, the NRF said. Those who shop online are projected to spend even more, or $858.49 each.

For consumers who had to work Friday or preferred to dodge the crowds, there’s Cyber Monday to look forward to - a day of special internet offerings.

According to an NRF survey, fewer shoppers this year - or 61.7 percent - say their outlay will be limited by the slow economy. That compared to 65.3 percent who held back last year.

NRF spokeswoman Ellen Davis wrote: “This year’s gifts will be a bit more … well, exciting,” thanks to the ongoing economic recovery, tepid as it has been.

“Fundamentals are out. Fun is in,” she wrote.

That means that blue jeans and small appliances no longer rule. Rather, she said, more people are putting jewellery and personal care and beauty items on their wish lists.

“To put it bluntly, if last year was the year to buy your wife a vacuum cleaner, this is the year to buy her a necklace,” she wrote. “So, men, get shopping. And someone please talk to my husband.”

Filed under: Economy

will not be displayed