As reported by the National Retail Federation (NRF), roughly 87 million Americans visited stores on Black Friday. However, total spending for the long Thanksgiving weekend is projected to be down more than 10 percent from last year’s estimate.
According to an NRF survey released on Sunday, total spending for the four-day weekend is expected to reach $50.9 billion, a decrease of 11.3 percent from last year’s estimate of $57.4 billion. NRF data also estimates that 133.7 million shoppers will have visited stores this weekend, down 5 percent year-over-year and below the expected number of 140.1 million. The survey also estimates flat growth in online sales.
This data follows strong starts reported by some retailers for the Black Friday weekend. Both Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp. began offering special Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, beginning at 6 p.m. While neither Wal-Mart nor Target has reported specific sales figures, both claimed a high number of customers that shopped at stores as well as online.
“More than 25 million people downloaded our Black Friday ad, and 20 million customers used their local store maps on walmart.com,” says Laura Phillips, senior vice president of merchandising for Wal-Mart. “Online shopping started while turkeys were still in the oven and yesterday was our second-highest online sales day ever—topped only by Cyber Monday last year.”
Wal-Mart stated that it had more than 22 million customers at its stores between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday, similar to its numbers a year ago. Meanwhile, in an article for The Wall Street Journal, Target said Thursday was its biggest online sales day ever.