For many Americans, Thanksgiving Day has come to mean one thing—the start of the holiday shopping season. Traditionally, sales began on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday. But stores and businesses have moved up the start of sales. Many retailers, eager to boost profits, opened on Thursday night this year. That drew protests from some workers and consumers. But it seems to have paid off.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), shoppers hit stores and websites in record numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend. At least 35 million consumers shopped online or in stores on Thanksgiving alone. Spending over the four-day weekend totaled $59.1 billion, up 12.8% from 2011.
The record weekend sales are encouraging for retailers, says Matthew Shay, who heads the NRF. "Retailers and consumers both won this weekend, especially on Thanksgiving," he said.
Retailers can make up to 40% of what they earn in a year during November and December. The NRF estimates that overall sales in those two months will be up 4.1% this year, to $586.1 billion. That is good news for the U.S. economy. But is it good for Thanksgiving?
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