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Black Friday Sales Up 0.3% to $10.7 Billion, ShopperTrak Says

Black Friday sales were little changed, rising 0.3 percent, from last year, as U.S. retailers’ efforts to lure customers by opening early failed, ShopperTrak said.

The early holiday sales and promotions boosted sales and traffic for the first two weeks of this month through Nov. 13 by 6.1 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, ShopperTrak said in a statement on its Website.

Shoppers nationwide spent $10.69 billion yesterday, Bill Martin, founder of Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak, said in the statement. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. and the traditional beginning of holiday season buying.

Hundreds of people lined up at individual stores across the U.S. to take advantage of special deals as they face down a slow economic recovery. Sears Holdings Corp. and Toys “R” Us Inc. started their Black Friday “doorbuster” sales on Thanksgiving Day to attract consumers after two years of dampened shopping enthusiasm since the recession.

Sears, the largest U.S. department-store chain, opened at 7 a.m. with bargains that included a 58-inch Panasonic Corp. high- definition plasma television for $1,044, 55 percent off its list price of $2,299.

Open on Thanksgiving

Toys “R” Us, the world’s biggest toy retailer, opened earlier this year to accommodate customers who said they wanted to shop after Thanksgiving dinner, said Chief Executive Officer Jerry Storch. Employees at the chain’s Times Square store in New York handed out Santa hats to about 1,500 shoppers queued outside before the opening, spokeswoman Jennifer Albano said.

In 2009, Black Friday spending rose 0.5 percent to $10.66 billion, compared with a year earlier, according to ShopperTrak.

Analysts’ estimates for the holiday season’s aggregate sales vary from little changed to increases of as much as 4.5 percent. The Washington-based National Retail Federation forecasts a gain of 2.3 percent to $447.1 billion after an uptick of 0.4 percent last year and a 3.9 percent drop in 2008.

The projections coincide with a rebound in U.S. consumer spending this year as the economy began adding jobs. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the nation’s economy, increased at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department. That was the fastest since the final three months of 2006.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net; Ian Thomson in New York at ithomson2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at Rajello@bloomberg.net.

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