Thanksgiving, Black Friday store sales fall, online rises

Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:00pm EST
 
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By Siddharth Cavale

(Reuters) - Sales and traffic at U.S. brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday declined from last year, as stores offered discounts well beyond the weekend and more customers shopped online.

Internet sales rose in the double digits on both days, surpassing $3 billion for the first time on Black Friday, according to data released on Saturday.

Data from analytics firm RetailNext showed net sales at brick-and-mortar stores fell 5.0 percent over the two days, while the number of transactions fell 7.9 percent.

Preliminary data from retail research firm ShopperTrak showed that shopper visits to such stores fell a combined 1 percent during Thanksgiving and Black Friday when compared with the same days in 2015.

The data highlights the waning importance of Black Friday, which until a few years ago kicked off the holiday shopping season, as more retailers start discounting earlier in the month and opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day.

"We knew it (holiday season) was going to be off to a slow start," Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext, said.

"The first couple of weeks with the election were a complete distracter from the normal course of business and...a warmer climate in November may have made the sales more stubborn," she said, adding that she saw sales picking up in December.

Net sales on Black Friday slid 10.4 percent for brick-and-mortar chains, according to RetailNext.   Continued...

 
Shoppers stand in a checkout line during Black Friday sales at a Target store in Culver City, California, U.S. November 25, 2016.  REUTERS/David McNew