Black Friday sales get shopping season off to strong start

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Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 12:00 am

Retailers are calling this year’s Black Friday weekend, which now includes Thanksgiving Day, a success.

Nearly 75 percent of adult consumers spent at least part of one day shopping over the extended weekend, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, according to a survey by America’s Research Group and Inmar, a technology firm.

The opportunity to shop on Thanksgiving, particularly Thanksgiving night, proved attractive to many.

More than 30 percent of consumers said they ventured out after the Thanksgiving meal to shop, the report said.

In the Omaha area, many Thanksgiving Day shoppers said they were lured to stores by Thanksgiving-only deals on bicycles, expercise equipment, boots and small appliances or Black Friday specials that launched Thursday evening.

“In general, consumers are feeling better overall about spending more,” said Britt Beemer, chairman and chief executive of America’s Research.

“Feeling better” translated into a healthy percentage of shoppers spending more than they had budgeted: 46 percent of said they “spent more than they planned because the deals were ‘too good to pass up,’” according to the report.

About 25 percent of shoppers said Black Friday remains their “primary” shopping day.

Retailers have reason to hope that there are still more consumer dollars to be spent: 56 percent of shoppers reported being less than halfway through their holiday shopping, which means retailers can expect a “significant amount of additional shopping before the season ends,” Beemer said.

About 73 percent of consumers said they plan to spend another three to 13 days in stores. The survey, which has an error margin of plus or minus 3.8 percent, consisted of 1,000 telephone interviews from Nov. 29 thorugh Dec. 1.

Separately, First Data said the earlier store openings on Thanksgiving Day boosted spending overall for the two-day Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping event.

Spending grew 9 percent total over the two days, with Thanksgiving shopping driving most of that, as Black Friday same-store sales rose 3.4 percent.

Cold, dry weather provided “perfect holiday shopping weather,” First Data said.

Same-store electronics sales grew 9.1 percent and the stores with the biggest growth were those in the category of sporting goods, books, music and hobby items, up 27.3 percent.

Consumers also felt more confident about buying on credit -- shopping on credit cards grew 8.8 percent, First Data said.

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