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Thanksgiving shopping saw deeper discounts

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Cyber Monday benefitted from advance offers

CHICAGO — The nation’s retailers used hefty discounts to lure Black Friday shoppers into their stores and to their websites to capture as much spending as they could over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, according to research firm Market Track LLC.

Retailers proactively released their circulars on average three days earlier than last year through their mobile apps, social media and email, according to Market Track, which noted the depth of discount in retailer circulars was lower this year for nearly all retailers.

Similarly, the firm found that Cyber Monday offers started earlier this year and extended beyond the single-day event, making the online extravaganza longer than previous years.

A pre-Black Friday analysis of circulars of top retailers by Market Track suggested that deals would be deeper this year as retailers sought to offer even more compelling prices to entice shoppers. Walmart, for instance, made it clear it would fight hard on price with Black Friday deals that were four percentage points greater than last year, Market Track said. Some other major retailers offered even deeper deals, according to Market Track, which analyzed emails, social media and retail websites to gauge retailers’ activities.

Market Track compiled a basket of over 100 best-selling and featured products on Amazon.com Inc., Best Buy Co., Target Corp. and Walmart’s online holiday shops and tracked daily online prices in a period leading up to and including Black Friday. Amazon discounted its basket by 8.1% compared to counterparts’ average of 4.4%, Market Track said.

The door-buster deal continues to attract shoppers, said Market Track, which cited a number of items that were limited in quantity and available only to shoppers who came into the store. The retailer that used this tactic the most was Home Depot Inc.; its Black Friday circular used the phrase “in-store” 32 times.

Market Track detected a strategic shift in the way retailers appealed to Black Friday shoppers. Email advertising increased 16% this year, it said, while print advertising was down 11%.

A survey from the National Retail Federation found that shoppers spent $289.19 over the four-day weekend through Sunday, compared to $299.60 over the same period in 2015.


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