November 24, 2017 / 3:05 PM / 23 days ago

Shares of retailers rise as shoppers hunt for deals on Black Friday

Nov 24 (Reuters) - Shares of U.S. retailers rose on positive Black Friday shopping reports of online and brick-and-mortar stores such as Amazon.com Inc and Macy’s Inc, signaling consumers are spending more than the last two holiday seasons.

A strong labor market, stock markets hitting records and the rising values of homes in the United States have offset inflation in gas and food prices, boosting consumer spending at stores this holiday-shopping season.

“We have a five-week marathon ahead of us,” Macy’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gennette told CNBC on Friday, adding that the retailer saw robust demand at its website ahead of the major shopping holidays.

Adobe Analytics revealed in a report that initial online holiday spending had risen 16.9 percent compared to a year earlier, trumping its previous estimate of 13.8 percent growth.

“Early season growth demonstrates the consumer’s willingness to spend and spells potential for retail this holiday,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD, a market research firm.

Department store chain J.C. Penney opened its doors for Black Friday shoppers as early as Thursday afternoon, while its online sales started four days before.

Kmart and Macy’s had said their Black Friday deals would begin at 5 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving. Amazon also revealed a preview of its Cyber Monday deals with discounts in more than 30 categories.

Wal-Mart and Macy’s have expanded their online selections and boosted discounts for online orders picked up at stores to lure bargain hungry shoppers, while off-price chains such as TJX Co said it has built a ‘terrific’ inventory position ahead of the pivotal holiday season.

“The turnout is clearly better than the last couple of years,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners on Thursday.

In early trade, shares of J.C. Penney rose 2 percent, Kohl’s Corp was up 2 percent, Amazon rose 1.5 percent, Best Buy climbed 0.5 percent, and Wal-Mart inched up 0.3 percent. (Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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