Maggie: More than 140 million shoppers were lured in by big sales this past holiday weekend starting as early as Thanksgiving night.
Shopper: We can have a lot to eat and then rest for about an hour, take a little nap and then we come straight to Black Friday because that’s usually our number one priority around Thanksgiving.
Maggie: The early Thursday sales did cut down on Black Friday numbers but the mega retailer Wal-Mart still saw a record 22 million customers on Friday alone.
According to a retail tracking firm, customers spent $11.2 billion dollars this past weekend, down 1.8 percent from last year.
The holiday shopping frenzy continues today with Cyber Monday. E-commerce – buying online – is expected to be up 17 percent this year.
Amazon.com’s Craig Berman expects his company’s best year yet.
Craig Berman: Looking for parking, fighting crowds and possibly not even finding what you wanted and what you were looking for. Those are all great reasons to relax, shop from the comfort of your couch.
Maggie: And the best shopping accessory may be your smartphone.
Tom Blushi: Well, it’s just basically just an app of all the stores and it has all the discounts for today.
Maggie: Apps to check in, scan barcodes and unlock bonus sales.
Craig: We are entering a world of perfect information, so customers are able to go wherever they may be and check prices, check sizes, check availability.
Maggie: Holiday sales overall are expected to increase 4 percent this year, a smaller gain than last year’s 5.6 percent.
This year, the calendar is in the retailer’s favor; 2012 has the longest possible number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That means plenty of time for people to spend the predicted $750 each, up from 741 last year. And that is important since holiday shopping can account for as much as 40 percent of what retailers bring in for the entire year.
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.