Black Friday holiday sales weakened from last year as a big promotional push by U.S. retailers on Thanksgiving Day sucked spending from what has traditionally been the biggest shopping day of the year, according to data released on Saturday.
ShopperTrak, which counts foot traffic in retail stores, estimated Black Friday sales of $11.2 billion, down 1.8 percent from the same day last year.
"More retailers than last year began their 'doorbuster' deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself," said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. "Those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that is usually meant for Friday."
Retail foot traffic rose 3.5 percent to almost 308 million store visits on Black Friday, with the largest increases in the U.S. Midwest, ShopperTrak also reported.
"Still, shoppers remain value-conscious, taking advantage of Black Friday deals - even if some of those deals started a bit early," Martin said.
If new Thanksgiving sales from earlier store openings are adding to Black Friday numbers, there would likely have been an increase of almost 1 percent in sales, compared with a year earlier, Ed Marcheselli, chief marketing officer at ShopperTrak, estimated.
(Additional reporting By Brad Dorfman; Editing by Peter Cooney)