Get out and shop: The ‘recession-proof’ holiday shopping season is officially underway

Fall and winter produce the most opportunities for retailers, merchants and other merchants. But the holiday season might not be the only reason to go shopping when temperatures edge lower and the sun doesn’t shine. The National Retail Federation is the latest organization to call this the “recession-proof holiday shopping season.”

Retail stores have extended their hours this weekend. On Thanksgiving Day, 14 of the nation’s 1,000 retail and restaurant chains (almost a quarter) would be open for business. The average offer of $14.27 on Black Friday is the same price as last year’s $14.27 offer and pretty close to what it was on the day after Thanksgiving, 2015, the NRF reports. The decrease in the difference between this year’s $14.27 offer and last year’s offer is the largest of any other day of the season.

A key driver of holiday sales during this time is the number of dollars spent in stores: Eighty-one percent of people will shop in stores and online on Black Friday, and 38 percent will shop this weekend, according to the report, NRF is paying for by Visa and RetailNext.

Still, while brick-and-mortar stores have come back from the brink of death a few years ago, online sales represent a small portion of holiday spending — at least in the short run. In 2016, overall holiday retail sales increased 5.7 percent year over year, with online sales growing 26 percent. Thanksgiving Day is traditionally the day when Americans have the most total retail sales. In 2018, it’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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