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ShopperTrak: Black Friday weekend sales up 1.9%, foot-traffic down 1.8% year-over-year

Chicago -- More customers shopped the Sunday before Thanksgiving than the days following Black Friday, according to ShopperTrak, a leading provider of retail and mall foot-traffic counting services.

Both Black Saturday and Black Sunday showed year-over-year losses in retail sales and foot-traffic, which caused the entire Black Friday weekend to realize a 1.9% sales increase and 1.8% decline in foot-traffic when compared with the same period last year, ShopperTrak said.  But the week leading up to Black Friday (ending Nov. 26), saw a 4.4% increase in sales, when compared to the same week in 2010. Black Sunday (Nov. 27) also saw a 1.7% decrease in enclosed mall foot-traffic, compared with the previous Sunday (Nov. 20).

“Retailers offered door-busters and other pre-holiday specials earlier in the Thanksgiving week to ensure they had the best opportunity to capture value-conscious shoppers,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Our customers have access to real-time traffic information, and they succeeded in taking share earlier than they had in past years. As we’ve noted over the past few months, retailers who focus on converting shoppers into buyers with effective marketing, adequate staffing and a positive customer experience will be the most successful when the season ends.”

Black Friday sales increased 6.6% over the same day last year, representing $11.40 billion in retail purchases and the biggest dollar amount ever spent during the day, according to ShopperTrak. Retail foot traffic rose by 5.1% over Black Friday 2010. Both sales and foot-traffic, however, declined as the weekend continued. Compared with the same day in 2010, Black Saturday sales dropped 4%, and people counts declined 9.6%. Sales were slightly better on Black Sunday, dropping only 2% year-over-year, while foot traffic dropped 8.7% over Black Sunday 2010.

“Black Friday is only one day in a 60-day holiday season cycle,” added Martin. “After a record-breaking day, consumers experienced some natural fatigue. We believe retail sales and store foot-traffic will regain the momentum generated on Black Friday as we head into the prime time for holiday season shopping.”

ShopperTrak predicts five of the biggest shopping days of the season will occur in the week leading up to Christmas weekend: Dec. 17 (Super Saturday), Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. ShopperTrak also forecasts Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 26 as high sales days. Taken together, eight of the top 10 sales days of the year are yet to come.

“There is still a lot of time left in the holiday shopping season,” said Martin. “The most successful retailers will pay attention to foot-traffic patterns and make appropriate adjustments to convert shoppers into buyers.”

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