US Black Friday retail sales show small rise

 
Julian Harris
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AMERICAN retail sales have edged up slightly from the same time last year, it was revealed over the weekend.

Consumers spent $10.69bn (£6.9bn) on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when Americans traditionally kick off their festive shopping.

Last year Black Friday sales totalled $10.66bn. The 0.3 per cent rise this year is lower than the 0.5 per cent rise experienced between 2008 and 2009.

However, early promotional offers may have warped the sales figures, according to researchers at ShopperTrak who compile the data.

The first two weeks of November saw sales increasing by over six per cent compared to the same time in 2009.

“We have a deal driven consumer in 2010 and that consumer responded to some of the earliest deep discounts we’ve even seen for the holidays,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.

Americans are still shopping in large numbers, but may be allowing for difficult economic circumstances, he added.

Last week the government revised up its forecast for US unemployment to 8.9—9.1 per cent for 2011.

“This means the American shopper has adapted to the economic climate over the last couple of years and is possibly spending more wisely as the holiday season begins,” said Martin.