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ShopperTrak: Black Friday weekend sales up, foot traffic down

CHICAGO — While retail sales during the Black Friday weekend increased this year, it seems that foot traffic may have dropped, according to a new report by ShopperTrak.

According to ShopperTrak, the entire Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) realized a 1.9% sales boost, but also recorded a 1.8% decline in foot traffic, compared with the same period last year. The research firm attributed the results to more customers who shopped the Sunday before Thanksgiving than the days following Black Friday (the week leading up to Black Friday saw a 4.4% increase in sales), while both Black Saturday and Black Sunday showed year-over-year losses in retail sales and foot traffic: Black Saturday experienced a 4% decrease in sales and 9.6% decrease in foot traffic, while Black Sunday sales dropped 2% and foot traffic decreased by 9.8%.

Black Friday, as reported, did record a 6.6% sales increase over the same day last year, representing $11.4 billion in retail purchases and the biggest dollar amount ever spent during the day, while retail foot traffic rose by 5.1% over Black Friday 2010.

“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,” ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said. “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.”

As previously reported, ShopperTrak projected 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, 8-of-the-10 top 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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