Thanksgiving retail sales 'up sharply'

Image caption Macy's opened its store in New York at midnight and 11,000 shoppers turned up

US shoppers went to town over the Thanksgiving weekend, with retail spending up sharply on last year, a survey suggests.

A record 247 million people visited stores and websites between Thursday and Sunday and spent a total of $59.1bn (£36.9bn), 13% more than last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

The average shopper spent $423 over the weekend, up from $398 last year.

Surveys suggest Americans also plan to spend big on so-called "Cyber Monday".

"Millions of Americans found time this Thanksgiving to make the most of retailers' promotions and enjoy a special family holiday," said NRF chief executive Matthew Shay.

"To keep their customers excited about holiday shopping, retailers will continue to offer attractive promotions through December, and provide strong consumer value with low prices, enhanced mobile and online offerings, and unique product assortment."

Online sales

Retailers, which make a large portion of their annual revenue during the November/December festive period, made special efforts to entice shoppers over the weekend, with a number of stores opened early to make the most of the sales rush.

Online sales also jumped sharply.

According to data company, online sales rose by a quarter on so-called "Black Friday" to break the $1bn mark for the first time, while online sales on Thanksgiving were up by a third.

The company also expects shoppers to spend $1.5bn online on Monday, 20% more than last year.

Despite the jump in sales over the weekend, there are concerns that the rise in spending over the festive period as a whole will be weaker this year.

The NRF has forecast a 4.1% increase in retail sales during November and December, less than the 5.6% jump recorded last year.

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