Weekend shopping deals not as good as Friday's

Post-Thanksgiving shoppers boost retail sales

"The deals were good between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. yesterday. They were unbelievable, You could get a coat for like eight bucks," said shopper Ambi Jeffries.

It appears what was a boom for retailers on the Friday after Thanksgiving turned out to be a bit of a bust for consumers who chose to avoid the Black Friday crowds and start looking for deep discounts Saturday.

At Woodfield Mall, there were still some stores hoping to keep their solid sales start going by continuing to offer good deals, but there were also those who pulled back on slashing prices to attract shoppers, in an effort to reap some profits.

As expected, electronics and cell phone sales as gifts are strong, along with toys. The Lego store offered some discounts to crowds for the post-Thanksgiving shop-a-thon, but not on Saturday.

"People are looking for the sale on Friday. We don't generally do them after that," said Sue Fisher, a manager at the Lego store.

Despite economic uncertainty, the nation's retailers got a much needed sales boost shoppers spent more than they did last year. According to preliminary data from a Chicago-based sales research firm, purchases on the day after Thanksgiving rose to $10.6 billion, which is up almost 3 percent from last year's sales.

To the surprise of many, consumers are buying, even in high-end apparel stores where it was expected that shoppers would do more browsing than buying.

However, with a shorter buying season, lower store inventories and the ease of Internet shopping, some industry experts still say the year's overall shopping period could be the weakest in decades, if retailers don't lure shoppers in with deals.

"What we saw yesterday was retailers promoted 88 percent bigger sales than in the past. I think that will translate to their bottom line, and they'll have to continue to promote and mark down items, " said Seema Jalupa of Deloitte.

This weekend accounts for 10 percent of overall holiday sales. November and December can account for as much as 40 to 50 percent of holiday sales revenue.

According to some industry experts, 70 percent more consumers will shop online, making it an important sales channel for retailers.

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