29 Nov 2010

Slight rise in 'Black Friday' sales

11:22 am on 29 November 2010

The start of the US Christmas shopping season began with more customers prepared to buy, but only a slight rise in actual spending.

Many shops open overnight and offer discounts on Black Friday - the day after the Thanksgiving public holiday. It is seen as an important test of consumer confidence, against a backdrop of stubbornly high unemployment.

The number of people hitting the shops rose 2.2% on last year, research group ShopperTrak said, but sales only rose 0.3% to $10.7 billion.

The 0.3% increase in sales on Black Friday followed a 0.5% rise last year, the BBC reports.

Macy's in Manhattan, which claims to be the world's largest store, opened its doors at 4am, and 7000 shoppers flooded in.

The retailer's president, Terry Lundgren, says tourists from Europe and Asia are back, people are spending a little more on themselves rather than just buying Christmas presents.