Holiday Sales Off to a Good Start

November 27, 2000

Holiday Sales Off to a Good Start

In an effort to increase holiday spending, retailers took the offensive this weekend and managed to draw in shoppers with steep discounts. The nation's largest retailers, including Sears and Wal-Mart, along with Internet companies such as Amazon.com offered great deals on the season's hottest merchandise to customers shopping Thanksgiving weekend.

Day-after-Thanksgiving sales were up in large retail stores. According to The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart reported same-store sales on Friday were up 4%-6% from the same day last year, and total sales for the day reached more than $1.1 billion, slightly more than last year. Sears' sales increased more than 6% Friday, making it the best sale day in the company's 114-year history. Both retailers reported strong sales in fine jewelry, as well as apparel, shoes, leather coats and tools. J.C. Penney also saw a sales increase on Friday, but it was slightly below company expectations.

Mall and department store traffic was up this year on the day after Thanksgiving, The Journal reports. RCT System's National Retail Traffic Index reported mall traffic was up 9.7% at 67.6 million people. Department stores saw 83.1 million people on Friday, an 8.2% increase from the same day last year.

Internet shopping was up as well, with sales jumping 26% to an estimated $105.1 million. America Online reported users spent one and a half times as much last week at Shop@AOL, AOL's online shopping center, than in the comparable week of 1999. Also, 6 million AOL users made purchases online last week, the Financial Times reports. Yahoo! Shopping saw similar increases, with Friday's sales more than doubling those on the same day last year.

Saturday's shopping traffic slightly beat last year's. Malls had an estimated 49 million visitors, up 3.6% from the same day last year. Department store traffic rose 0.4% to 56.8 million shoppers.

- by Julia M. Duncan