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Article posted: 11/25/2012 4:00 PM

Report: Shoppers boost U.S. weekend spending to $59.1 billion

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Shoppers turned out in bigger numbers and boosted purchasing over the Black Friday weekend, lured by promotions online and in stores, the National Retail Federation said today.

Customers spent $423 on average, a 6.3 percent increase from $398 last year, Washington-based NRF said in an e-mailed statement. Starting Thanksgiving Day, 89 million Americans visited stores and websites, up from 86 million a year earlier, for total spending of $59.1 billion.

More than 35 million shoppers bought in stores and online on the Thanksgiving holiday, up from 29 million last year, to get a few hours' jump on the traditional Black Friday. With the earlier openings, online deals starting as far back as last weekend and new promotions, stores are trying to draw customers to return for later purchases, said Scott Tuhy, a credit analyst for Moody's Investors Service in New York.

"The promotional message is very important this weekend for retailers focused on the whole season, not just the four-day Thanksgiving weekend," Tuhy said today by telephone. "Consumers are looking for deals. They're going to spend what they're going to spend for the holiday, so it's important for retailers to get the value message across this weekend."

The results are from a survey conducted Nov. 23-24 for the federation by BIGinsight, which polled 4,005 consumers. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percent.

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