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Transportation

America Probably Has Enough Parking Spaces for Multiple Black Fridays

Even the biggest shopping day of the year can’t fill up the enormous oversupply of parking lots that ring U.S. shopping centers.
The United States has as many as two billion parking spots for about 250 million cars.
The United States has as many as two billion parking spots for about 250 million cars.Matt York/AP

Is post-Thanksgiving shopping mayhem a fading American holiday tradition? This year, even as overall spending increased between Thanksgiving and Black Friday, foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores reportedly fell by as much as 9 percent compared to 2017. That’s consistent with consumer trends since 2014, thanks to retailers widening the window for holiday bargains and more shopping migrating online.

A downturn in traffic appears to be accompanied by fewer of the fistfights, stampedes, and storefront brawls for which Black Friday is justly famous. Parking lot accidents tend to spike the day after Thanksgiving, USA Today reported in 2017, as do claims of thefts from homes and vehicles—presumably, fewer shoppers butting heads and bumpers would mean less of those, too.