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Holiday shopping starts early

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WASHINGTON — Nearly 180 million Americans shopped during the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

In total, 179.8 million unique shoppers made in-store and online purchases during the holiday weekend, exceeding NRF’s initial expectations by over 21 million. The figure is down from 186.4 million shoppers in 2020 and is in line with the average of the last four years, NRF stated.

“Retailers have adapted and enticed customers with a number of incentives throughout November. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend remains a significant time for friends and families to check specific holiday items off their lists,” NRF president and chief executive officer Matthew Shay said. “Over the last few years consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season.”

NRF defines the holiday season as November 1 through December 31 and originally forecast that sales would grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.

“Now that we’re in December, the holiday shopping season is nearing the finish line,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist. “The question is how have factors ranging from economic indicators to the twists of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the season so far, and what role will they play in the weeks that remain? The latest data is encouraging. In fact, the season could turn out better than we expected.”

Kleinhenz said holiday spending is now expected to increase by 11.5%.


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