Physical retail 'still relevant' on Black Friday

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CHICAGO Retail research firm ShopperTrak said that store traffic fell less than 1 per cent on Black Friday, bucking industry predictions of a sharper decline.

"There has been a significant amount of debate surrounding the shifting importance of brick-and-mortar retail," Mr Brian Field, ShopperTrak's senior director of advisory services, said.

"The fact that shopper visits remained intact on Black Friday illustrates that physical retail is still highly relevant and, when done right, it is profitable."

The National Retail Federation (NRF), which had predicted strong holiday sales helped by rising consumer confidence, said on Friday that fair weather across much of the nation had also helped draw shoppers into stores.

The NRF, whose overall industry sales data is closely watched each year, is scheduled to release Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales numbers tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Black Friday and Thanksgiving online sales in the United States surged to record highs as shoppers bagged deep discounts and bought more on their mobile devices, heralding a promising start to the key holiday season, according to retail analytics firms.


US retailers raked in a record US$7.9 billion (S$10.6b) in online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, up 17.9 per cent from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the largest 100 US web retailers.

Adobe said Cyber Monday is expected to drive $6.6b in Internet sales, which would make it the largest US online shopping day in history.

US consumer confidence has been strengthening over this past year, due to a labor market that is churning out jobs, rising home prices and stock markets that are hovering at record highs.