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Holiday Sales in Line with CUNA/CFA Findings
CHICAGO, Ill. (12/3/13)--Data released on Saturday shows increased consumer holiday spending, in line with the results of a November holiday spending survey conducted by the Credit Union National Association and the Consumer Federation of America.
 
Sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday totaled $12.3 billion, 2.3% higher than the total at the same time last year according to Chicago-based market researcher ShopperTrak LLC (WSJ.com Nov. 30). The CUNA-CFA survey, which was conducted between Nov. 7 and Nov. 10, found that 13% of 1,002 respondents planned on spending more this year--up from 12% last year--while 32% planned on spending less--down from 38% (News Now Dec. 2).
 
ShopperTrak found that foot traffic and sales were down on Black Friday itself--by 11% and 13.2% respectively--but that consumers spent more on Thanksgiving. A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation in early November had also found that 53.8% of shoppers had already started making holiday-related purchases (The New York Times Nov. 30) 
 
Data from the ShopperTrak report showed strong Thanksgiving weekend consumer activity in the Western and Southern U.S., while unfavorable weather conditions in the Northeast may have discouraged some people from going on shopping excursions, according to the Wall Street Journal.
 
Over all, ShopperTrak predicted that holiday sales will increase by 2.4% this year--the smallest annual increase since 2009 (Bloomberg.com Nov. 30).
 
But Saturday's report did not include online shopping figures. The New York Times reported that online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday rose by 20% and 19% respectively, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark--a monitor of 800 retail websites in the U.S. Target also said that its Thanksgiving morning online orders had doubled in volume from a year ago, according to Bloomberg.
 
According to the CUNA-CFA survey, the number of consumers who planned on spending more or the same amount has gradually increased since 2011, when only 8% said that they would spend more while 41% said they would spend less. The proportion of those who said that their financial situation was worse this year was 29%--the smallest number since CFA and CUNA began asking the question in 2009--while 24% said that their financial situation had improved in 2013.
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