Consumers spent $27.8 billion or 22 percent more than last year
over Black Friday weekend
Gilroy – That more shoppers were battling for Lite Brites and iPods at big box stores on Black Friday wasn’t an illusion.
More than 60 million consumers, an increase of 7.9 percent compared to last year, marked the onset of the crazed Christmas shopping season by heading to mostly big box stores, according to the National Retail Federation.
Through Black Friday weekend, 145 million consumers spent $27.8 billion, 22 percent more than last year’s $22.8 billion.
The numbers dwindle as the weekend dragged on with about 53 million Americans shopping Saturday, a 13.3 increase over last year, and an estimated 22 million Sunday.
Sunday’s numbers were expected to be close to last years, according to the NRF report. Shoppers spent an average of $302 per person.
That prices have dropped on digital cameras, laptops and flat screen TVs, was obvious to anyone who visited the jam-packed electronics departments at local retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.
“We’re pleased with our sales,” said Bill Kirtland, Target store team leader. “We had a very good Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
Although Kirtland would not reveal the figures, he said Target’s sales increased “across the board.” The busiest hours were Friday from 6am to 2pm. Echoing most managers, Kirtland said the big ticket items were iPods, DVD players, LCD televisions and digital cameras.
Best Buy also fared well. Customers flooded the floor at the electronics store in the Pacheco Pass Shopping Center here on Friday and Saturday, said Daniel Moreno, front-end manager. Laptops were the big draw this weekend, he said.
Nationwide, electronics’ sales were up 31 percent since 2004, with 37 percent of shoppers purchasing some technological device, according to NRF.
Downtown Gilroy’s calm storefronts were a reflection of the nationwide big box frenzy. A total of 61 percent of consumers headed to discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Target, while 47 percent shopped at department stores.
NRF predicts that Christmas sales will reach $440 billion, a 6 percent increase.
Washington, D.C.-based NRF conducts a Black Friday weekend survey annually and is the world’s largest retail trade association.
Heather Bremner covers education for the Dispatch. Reach her at [email protected] or 847-7097.