This year’s Black Friday was notably less intense as bargains spread over two days.
The crowds, gathering at the biggest shopping centers, appeared to have exhausted some of their shopping enthusiasm on Thursday.
As last year, many retailers had opened their doors early to try to pull shoppers in ahead of rivals.
“The consumer clearly enjoys shopping on Thanksgiving,” said Target’s chief executive, Brian Cornell.
When opening the New York Stock Exchange for Friday’s shortened day of trading, Brian Cornell welcomed the way the holiday season “has moved from an event on Black Friday morning to a multi-day event”.
But if footfall was subdued, online sales came to the fore.
Wal-Mart said Thursday was its second-highest online sales day ever after last year’s Cyber Monday, the first Monday in December when many people order items they’d like to arrive in time for Christmas.
BestBuy’s website went offline after what the company said was “a concentrated spike in mobile traffic.”
The hope for many retailers is that the slowly improving US economy, combined with lower petrol prices, could push consumers to buy more than they have in recent memory.
Black Friday has been the top sales day of the year since 2005, according to ShopperTrak which tracks data on stores globally, beating into second place the Saturday before Christmas when last-minute shoppers stock up on Christmas gifts.
However, that could change this year as Thanksgiving shopping and online sales eat into Black Friday’s peak performance.
The earlier start to holiday shopping has placed even more focus on the plight of workers who must often leave their families in order to help shops open on Thanksgiving.
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