Retailers Have A Robust Start To Holiday Season

UNDATED (AP) - More Americans than ever before took the Black Friday bait of big discounts and earlier-than-usual store openings. A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the four-day holiday weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day, up from 212 million last year.

The National Retail Federation says the average holiday shopper spent $398.62, up from $365.34 a year ago.
A fuller picture will come Thursday when major retailers report their November sales figures.

The data gathering firm ShopperTrak reports Black Friday sales were $11.4 billion, up 7 percent from the same day last year. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since 2007.

Online shopping on Black Friday was especially strong with consumers apparently not waiting until Cyber Monday.

But experts point out that how retailers finish the season is just as important. The overall season can account for 25 to 40 percent of annual revenue.