Thanksgiving weekend retail sales totaled $41.2 billion, a .5% jump over last year's $41 billion, but the average shopper spent 8% less than in 2008, $343.31 against $372.57. Discounts, especially on electronics and toys, were the overwhelming attraction as cautious consumers pried open their wallets, Bloomberg reports. Retailers "know they have their work cut out for them to keep people coming back through Christmas," said the head of the National Retail Federation.
One potential bright spot was the total number of online and in-person shoppers: 195 million, up from 172 million a year earlier. The online figure is "not saying a lot considering that last year’s sales were soft," notes Peter Kafka of All Things Digital. "But for the record, sales are up three percent so far, and Web sales were up 11 percent on Black Friday."