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Black Friday Sales Down 13 Percent Compared To 2012

New data from ShopperTrak shows Black Friday sales dropped by double digits, and stores opening on Thanksgiving might be to blame.
Posted at 12:08 PM, Dec 02, 2013

With holiday shopping starting on Thanksgiving at many retailers, sales for Black Friday took a hit.

Data released by ShopperTrak, a company that reports on shopping traffic and sales, shows Black Friday retail sales dropped more than 13 percent compared to last year and foot-traffic on the same day fell 11 percent.

The Los Angeles Times reports one reason for the big drop is millions of shoppers hit the stores on Thanksgiving rather than waiting until Friday. Combined sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday went up a little more than two percent this year.

USA Today points out almost 40 million Americans went shopping on Thanksgiving. That's an increase of nearly 35 percent compared to this time last year.

In a press release Friday, Wal-Mart said it saw more than 10 million transactions during a four-hour period Thursday night alone. It had more than 400 million views on its website Thanksgiving Day.

Wal-Mart was joined by a growing list of stores including Target, Best Buy and Sears that chose to open Thursday night instead of Friday. As a writer for The Huffington Post put it, the stores that chose to open on the holiday had "killed Thanksgiving."

Bloomberg reports the move might have only brought a temporary sales boost. While sales were up for Thursday and Friday combined, data from the National Retail Federation shows sales between Thursday and Sunday were down almost three percent even though more people went shopping overall.

The Wall Street Journal reports retailers are putting a lot of attention on holiday shopping because it accounts for as much as one-fifth of a store's yearly revenue.

Although sales for the weekend weren't stellar, organizations like ShopperTrak and the National Retail Federation expect overall holiday sales to rise this year. Thursday through Sunday marked the first time sales were down for Black Friday weekend since 2009.