Heavy Discounts Mean Less Black Friday Profits For Retail

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Thanksgiving weekend shoppers picked up hot toys, TVs and new Apple products, buying both online and in stores, but spent less per person because of rampant discounting that they’ve come to demand.

Once all the receipts are in, customers look to have spent an average of $289.19 over the four-day weekend, down nearly 3.5 percent from a year ago, based on a survey by the National Retail Federation. The pressure on prices was especially strong on products like TVs.

More than 154 million customers said they had shopped or planned to this Thanksgiving weekend, up from 151 million a year ago, according to the survey conducted Friday and Saturday by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. And more were doing it online, as about 99.1 million went to the stores and 108.5 million shopped online.

Carmen Cunnyngham of Kansas City, Kansas, was in Denver on Sunday and decided to stop at the mall to pick up a new pair of Ugg boots for her daughter. They were discounted at Nordstrom, which is one of her favorite places to shop. She said she got a bit of a late start this year because of the presidential election, so she’s been looking online for deals and jumping when she sees them.

“I’m trying to make sure I get the wish lists in and look at those and shop and do what I can before Christmas gets here,” she said.

The drop in spending underscores how even with an improving economy, many shoppers are still focused on habit developed during the Great Recession. They’re fixated on deals and more readily using technology to find them whenever they want to buy. More than a third of customers surveyed by the NRF said that all of their purchases were on sale, up 11 …read more    

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