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Record sales for holiday retail

Holiday shopping season off to a solid start

Nearly 180 million people shopped during the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, according to data released last week.

Starting Thanksgiving Day and ending Cyber Monday, 179.8 million U.S. shoppers made in-store and online purchases, according to the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C.

That exceeded the trade association’s prediction for the start of 2021 holiday shopping season by more than 21 million shoppers, and it’s in line with opening weekend numbers for the last four years, the federation reported.

“The Thanksgiving holiday weekend remains a significant time for friends and families to check specific holiday items off their lists,” said Matthew Shay, the federation’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Over the last few years consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season.”

Black Friday was again the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 66.5 million shoppers, followed by 51 million shoppers on Saturday.

Shoppers during the five-day weekend spent an average of $301.27 on holiday-related purchases, including gifts, décor, apparel and toys. That was a slight drop from $311.75 in 2020, according to the association.

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