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Crowds of shoppers hunting for bargains thin out for Black Friday

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The crowds of bargain hunters that rush through store doors on the day after Thanksgiving have thinned out.

American shoppers spent $9.1 billion at stores on Black Friday, according to data out Saturday from research firm ShopperTrak. That’s a drop of 7 percent compared with the same day last year.

It’s too early to call the holiday shopping season a dud, said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’ s co-founder. Sales on Thanksgiving jumped 24 percent to $3.2 billion. And overall sales for the two days are expected to slip half a percent to $12.29 billion. The figures don’t include online transactions.

For the second straight year, the report suggests that more people avoided the crowds on Black Friday by avoiding time at home on Thanksgiving Day. This year, many large retail stores decided to open their doors to eager shoppers for extended hours on the holiday.

“People are changing their behavior,” Martin said. “We’ve seen this for two years in a row now. Stores opening on Thanksgiving are simply eroding sales from Black Friday.”

The popularity of shopping online has lured people away from brick-and-mortar stores. In a separate report out Saturday, IBM said online sales for Black Friday climbed 9.5 percent over the same day last year. More than one of every four transactions were made by using a smartphone or a tablet computer.


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