Published November 25, 2011
LOS ANGELES – Retail sales on Thanksgiving edged up slightly over last year for stores that were willing to stay open during the holiday, according to PriceGrabber.com, giving hope that consumers will spend more during Black Friday.
PriceGrabber CEO, Graham Jones, said Friday that early figures suggested a one-to-two point gain for Thanksgiving retail sales over last year. He said demand for handheld computer tablets was particularly robust on the price comparison website.
Jones also said that price points were dropping over last year, confirming speculation that heavy discounting could dent overall revenue for retailers this holiday.
"We've been seeing more purchases, but the amount spent on each purchase is down a little bit," he said in an interview with MarketWatch.
Among some of the best sellers on PriceGrabber.com, were the Canon Rebel T3i camera and North Face Brand jackets.
Jones also said that the Angry Bird toy was the most popular in its class so far this season.
Black Friday discounts were reportedly drawing large crowds on the traditional first day of the Christmas shopping season.
From Walmart to Macy's, the stores that opened at midnight or earlier appeared to draw the biggest crowds, according to The Wall Street Journal. But the state of the economy was top of mind.
Some 34 percent of consumers said they plan to shop on Black Friday, up from 31 percent last year and 26 percent in 2009, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers cited by the WSJ.
The National Retail Federation expects 152 million to shop over the long weekend, up about 10 percent from a year ago.
Retailers are also expected to get a much-needed boost when Americans return to work after the long weekend and head online for additional discounts on "Cyber Monday."
PriceGrabber expects strong demand during the sixth annual internet sales event. In a survey conducted by the site, 39 percent of people planning to shop over the four-day holiday period said they will do so on Cyber Monday, up slightly from 37 percent last year.
The survey includes responses from 2,322 online shopping consumers in the US.
But spend-thrifty shoppers will be looking for promotions when they click on the checkout button Monday.
The 39 percent of consumers who plan to shop on Cyber Monday were asked to select all of the reasons they plan to do so. An overwhelming 92 percent indicated that they wanted to take advantage of one-day deals, discounts and free-shipping offers, PriceGrabber said.