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03 Dec

Sales Ring Up and Ring In Holiday Cheer

Black Friday has morphed into “Black Weekend” as shoppers got busy on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday, and Cyber Monday.

According to comScore, Black Friday saw $1 billion in online sales making it the heaviest online spending day to date in 2012. It marks a 26 percent increase from last year. Even Thanksgiving Day, not typically a big shopping day, had a 32 percent increase in sales to $633 million.

John Coleman, owner of Stereo King, for the second time in a row had a Black Friday promotion going. “We thought we would get lost in the shuffle in years past, so we opted out,” said Coleman. “Last year we engaged for Black Friday and hit it hard,” he said. “We experienced a 20 percent increase in sales in the two-week period beginning Black Friday.” 

This year, noted Coleman, advertising for the Black Friday event began on the Tuesday right before the holiday. The chain had sales on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but Coleman wasn’t getting into the Thanksgiving Day fray like some of the big box retailers. “There’s no need to get up at midnight,” he said. “We opened for regular hours.”

Stores raked in an estimated $59.1 billion in sales from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, up from $52.4 billion a year earlier, as millions of shoppers jammed stores and browsed online, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Spending per shopper jumped 6 percent to $423. 

The spending mania continued into Cyber Monday, the first day back to business for many after the holiday weekend, and a day now associated with workers shopping online in their cubicles or from their offices.

Best Buy did particularly well with its cyber sales. The consumer electronics retailer had the nation's third-busiest retail website on Black Friday, according to comScore.

The company said Best Buy ranked behind Amazon and Walmart but ahead of Target.

According to Elliott Chun, communications manager, at FutureShop, a subsidiary of Best Buy, the chain (and the largest consumer electronics store in Canada with 149 stores), was up from last year on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“It was our fourth go with Black Friday and our third with Cyber Monday,” he said. “And mobile electronics is something where have seen a lot of uptick.”

The company also benefitted from the launch of its mobile app a few years back with a transactional portion so that consumers can enjoy the full-cycle experience on their mobile devices, Chun said. The mobile apps, for both Apple and Android devices, have seen huge growth with a combined 600,000 downloads.

While cell phones and headphones saw brisk sales for gifts, said Chun, car audio and car solutions got a bump, too. “People may want to upgrade to a new deck so they can access the apps on their smartphones. We’re also seeing more people who want to add an auxiliary port to play music off their smartphones.”

Cyber Monday, said Chun, is the company’s second biggest online sales day. It is right behind a holiday that isn’t celebrated here in the U.S. “Boxing Day is our number one sales day, but our sales actually start on December 24. It is the same frenzy of Black Friday in the U.S.”

Regardless of which day retailers saw the biggest spike, the mood seems to be positive as the holidays draw closer.

“Everyone is feeling very bullish," said Matthew Shay, chief executive of the NRF. “We are really seeing a five-day weekend that started on Thursday and ends on Monday. The entire week is really getting extended with special promotions that roll out in waves.”

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