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Retailers compete for sales
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PINELLAS COUNTY - Residents throughout the county joined with 133 million other shoppers on Black Friday to make retailers' Christmas dreams come true, according to the National Retail Federation.

The National Retail Federation reported that sales over the weekend totaled $22.8 billion. The International Council of Shopping Centers also reported that sales were good on Black Friday - the Friday after Thanksgiving. But low sales on Saturday and moderate sales on Sunday equaled a 1.5 percent decline in sales for the week.

"Retailers know that the holiday season is not a sprint, it's a marathon," National Retail Federation president and CEO Tracy Mullin said in a release. "Black Friday weekend is just the beginning of a month-long race to the finish line."

BIGresearch, an online market intelligence and Internet powered marketing research company, conducted a national survey of weekend shoppers and found that on average people spent $265.15. Nine million shoppers surveyed shopped on Thanksgiving Day.

According to the survey, 49.1 percent of shoppers purchased clothing or accessories, 45.5 percent bought books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games, and 31.2 percent spent their money on electronics.

ShopperTrak RCT Corporation, a retail intelligence company, reported that sales for Black Friday and Saturday totaled $13 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent from 2003. ShopperTrak's numbers show Black Friday's sales figures at $8 billion - up 10.8 percent from last year. Saturday's total of $5 million in sales was down 6.5 percent from 2003.

"The first two days of the holiday retail season were uneven to say the least," Michael Niemira, chief economist and director of research for the International Council of Shopping Centers, said in a release. "While the season appears to be off to a rather shaky start with Saturday's sharp decline, 2003 sales for Black Saturday were very strong, making the year-over-year comparison very difficult."

Online sales also were strong on Black Friday. Nielsen/NetRatings reported an 11 percent increase in sales for the day.

As of Nov. 28, BIGresearch was reporting that the average person had completed 36.8 percent of their holiday shopping.
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