Holiday Season Begins With Sales Gains

Sales Increased To $59.1B This Year From $52.4B In 2011

Holiday Season Begins With Sales GainsThe National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that sales during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend increased by about 13% over the same time period last year. NRF estimated that retail sales (including through online and mobile venues) for the Thursday through Sunday period increased to $59.1 billion this year from $52.4 billion over the holiday weekend in 2011. The group said that it attributes some of the 2012 gains to longer hours that stores were open on Thanksgiving day.

Opening their doors on Thursday was "a huge win" for big retail chains, said Matthew Shay, CEO of the NRF. Also, there were more young people than any other group of shoppers from 8 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving – 40% of shoppers that evening were 18 to 34 years old and 26% of those out said they were 35 to 54 years old, according to the NRF survey. Shopping on Thanksgiving "has really become an extension of the day's activities," Shay said. About 35 million people shopped on the holiday this year, up from about 28 million last year.

Online sales also factored into the revenue gains shown during the first official shopping weekend of the 2012 holiday season. In fact, Black Friday online sales exceeded $1 billion for the first time, rising 26% to $1.04 billion, according to research firm comScore Inc. The research group also forecast online Cyber Monday sales yesterday to surpass $1.5 billion, an increase from last year's $1.25 billion.